Standings Free Fall: Devils Top Caps 2-1

DevilsGoal

Ugh. (Photo: Andy Marlin)

Just like Alex Ovechkin, ya boy Peter was out with an injury tonight. Undisclosed for those asking. I’m nursing the flu. We’re sort of like the Caps of Caps blogs right now.

Embarking on five game road trip with their dads in tow, the Caps headed to newly Cory Booker-less Newark for date with the Devils. Allowing the fewest shots per game in the NHL and featuring the blue-hot Cory Schneider, New Jersey didn’t look like great opponent to get Washington’s hapless offense going. They weren’t. Yep, it’s gonna be one of those again.

As usual these days, the game got off to a horrid start. Five minutes in, Dmitry Orlov made another silly mistake, fumbling the puck in the Caps offensive zone. Steven Gionta and Ryan Carter went the other way on the odd-man break. Shockingly, Mike Green did not misplay the 2-on-1. It wasn’t enough. The puck snuck past Michal Neuvirth off the blade of Gionta.

Early in the second, Adam Henrique put the Devs up by two with Orlov in the box for holding. Jaromir Jagr made the play, fabulously skating through the Capitals defense before feeding the puck in front for his second assist of the game. Facing this Capitals offense, it looked like that was all New Jersey needed.

Jason Chimera, however, had other ideas. Midway through the third, he deflected a John Erskine shot from the point for his third goal in seven games. It wasn’t enough though.

Seven in a row. Devils top Caps 2-1.

  • It took 181 seconds for the Caps to continue their streak of boneheaded penalties. It was Martin Erat again, as he committed an offensive zone board. All you can do is roll your eyes. Or cringe. He did set up a great chance by Nicklas Backstrom though.
  • Speaking of dumb penalties, Tom Wilson got called for another charging penalty for a hit in the corner. It was a big thump, but might not have been worthy of two minutes. It doesn’t matter. Eric Gelinas had long ago released the puck. Wilson’s hit served no purpose. He was asking for a penalty and he got one. Wilson also got nabbed for a hold later in the game, marking his 100th penalty minute this year. He now ranks 6th in the league in PIMs.
  • Dmitry Orlov, you’re killing us. When asked about his spate of recent mistakes, head coach Adam Oates has tried to stay calm, noting that the team has put him in a tough position. The 22-year-old is playing big minutes with Mike Green, Washington’s highest paid defensemen. He’s bound to make mistakes. When the Russian does — especially playing with a similar, offensive-minded player like Green — they will be magnified. The Caps don’t have much of a choice here. They don’t have enough defensive depth to limit his growing pains. But right now, it’s on Dima.
  • John Erskine and Connor Carrick were put back together tonight. That third pairing has been the subject much consternation lately, but they looked to be Washington’s best duo on Friday. Great possession, no visible errors. They were on the ice for New Jersey’s PP goal, but I think they played it well enough. Big John even got himself an apple on the team’s lone goal!
  • Michal Neuvirth got his third start in eight games. Nether of the two goals against him were particularly bad. He made 28 saves against the Devs.
  • Bad news: Mikhail Grabovski is hurt. Crashing the net, Grabo was hauled down in front of the Devils crease. He fell awkwardly and looked to twist his left knee. Not good for Washington third leading points and goal scorer. He didn’t return to the game, playing just 6:19.
  • Three shots on goal for Jay Beagle. He was also in front of the net for Washington’s goal. Stud.
  • Since last Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh the Caps have scored three goals. Overall, they have just eight goals in the last seven games. Moreover, three of those were tallied by Ovechkin, who, of course, is out of the lineup right now. The team is getting some good chances. Brooks Laich, Beagle, and others had some great ones tonight. Still, they can’t put the puck in the net, save for the one tally. A lot of that is due their recently pathetic power play. The man-advantage is on a one for 24 streak. You can’t win without goals.
Black and Tan

Black and Tan

I’ll keep it terse since you already know what’s up. This streak will end eventually. The Caps aren’t that bad. But they also aren’t that good. These seven games may be enough to cost them a playoff spot. Washington now has the fourth-worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Caps-Habs tomorrow from Montreal. Hopefully you won’t need a high blood alcohol level to get through it.

  • Guest

    I give up.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I don’t even get mad anymore

  • Jake Ettawakapow
  • Freedoooom

    Another terrible game for Backstrom.

    Oh stop, the Wilson hit on Gelinas was fine. You should be mad at Gelinas for seeing if he had any blood trying to get a major even though he hit his head on the ice.

  • Owen Johnson

    I will say this: even though this team has been terrible recently, I’ve noticed pretty much every game in this stretch, Joe B has said “Goalie X is red hot with a save percentage of .988 the last 10 games.”

    Yes we’ve sucked, but part of the offensive futility comes from running into buzzsaws EVERY FRIGGIN’ GAME!!!

  • Jack Conness

    This sucks. Caps lost and I don’t know up to upload a GIF on here. Life is unfair.

  • drew

    they are THAT bad…or they just dont care..no sure which is worse.

  • Jack Conness

    Does this GIF work? I can’t tell.

  • Owen Johnson

    Nope. Just like our power play. D’oh!

  • Jack Conness

    He is forced to play with Brouwer now. Not his fault his hockey skill is getting sucked from his soul.

  • Alex Hughes

    Well this is frustrating. Now that Grabo is hurt we probably are gonna have to play 7 D-men tomorrow. Ovi probably won’t play again so there will be little offense. Caps have to change something (obviously) if they want to win games. The defense has to shore up and that I thought that was a poor goal given up by Neuvy on the 1st one. Very frustrating times in Caps Nation. Just got to keep being patient and eventually (maybe) the good times (winning) will come back around

  • Owen Johnson

    Wait. I see a JPG of George Michael Bluth

  • JakeDubber

    Dude…. just….. dude…..

  • Ben

    Mike Green could play forward

  • dylan wheatley

    we outshot them

  • Heidi

    The Caps are good at one thing: improving the stats of opposing goalies. We’re almost at rock bottom folks, brighter days are coming (someday).

  • Owen Johnson

    Hey I posted that on FB. I’m posting this when we finally win
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IH8e4j4yBY

  • Rob W.

    Did Schneider break a sweat tonight? Seriously this team would struggle to score on an empty net. Im struggling to think of one thing this team does well. Passing is awful, shooting is worse, PP is cold as ice, these guys have no clue what to do. Orlov and Wilson have officially gotten on my last nerve. Anybody who thinks this is a playoff team, please give me whatever you are smoking

  • Jack Conness

    Please help Peter…

  • Daniel Walker

    Im going to go ahead and assume I will be waking up to the news that GMGM has been fired tomorrow morning which would in turn make this losing streak the best thing that ever happened to this franchise.

  • JakeDubber

    Yeah. Shots mean jack shit if we don’t outscore them.

  • JakeDubber

    Hahahahahahahhahahahahahaahhaahhahaahahahhaaahhaha. With Teddy on the trigger?

  • JakeDubber

    I think I have some crack left. From the Dale Hunter era, of course

  • Seth Malaguerra

    Behold the heat death of the Capitals universe.

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

    Here’s a cute photo of a baby dolphin because I don’t want to talk about hockey anymore.

  • JakeDubber

    Where’s the photo? I think we really need it….

  • Rob W.

    ill take it

  • Jaime

    I’ve found that it’s easier if you just expect them to lose. I’ve been much calmer these last few games.

  • James Desautels

    Hey Olympics in less than 2 weeks…..that will give us a nice break from this mess. And yes I will need a decent BAC to push through this. I’ve got poopy diapers like every hour, its -10000 here in Boston, and my fav team averages 1.1 GPG. I have no options right now but to pour tall beverages routinely Fri-Sun. I can’t be the only one….

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

    Oh gosh, look at this guy. He’s learning how to swim.

  • Michael Reschly

    Normally, when I go to games, for financial reasons, I get seats in the upper level. But for Sasha Semin’s first game back in a non-Capitals uniform, I wanted to sit close, so I sprung for lower level, row C, by the faceoff circle of the caps-shoot-twice end, on the penalty-box side. With 30 seconds left in the game, the Caps held a 3-0 lead. Most of the fans were packing up their belongings, not paying close attention to the game. Suddenly (and I’m still not sure how this happened), the puck game over the class, fast, and hit a ~12 year old boy sitting in front if me. He was woozy, his mother was (understandably) freaking out, and myself and others nearby were trying to get the attention of ushers/VC medical staff.

    Chimera was on the ice when this happened. He looked in our direction, obviously concerned about the boy. He then skated over to the bench, got a towel from the trainers, skated back over to us, and threw the towel over the wall for the boy. A minute later, when the game was over, Chimera skated back over and handed his game stick over the glass for the boy. Right behind him was RAHJC doing the same thing. While it wasn’t cool that the kid took a puck to the head, it was awesome to see the reaction of the players, going far beyond what was expected of them.

    This has nothing to do with tonight’s game, but when teams I root for are doing poorly, I find I feel better when I remember that the team is made of a lot of Good People who Do Good Things, and that while winning sportsball matches are nice, they aren’t Important.

  • JakeDubber

    You’re not. Pour on, brother.

  • James Desautels

    Right on….#drinkmojo

  • Owen Johnson
  • Rob W.

    its crazy how years later, its the same attitude with this team feeling sorry for themselves

  • JakeDubber

    *Sniff*…. That’s just… /cries

  • Rob W.

    this made me feel so much better

  • JakeDubber

    And that’s exactly the problem. We shouldn’t be ‘expecting to lose’

  • John Atchison

    Who are we kidding? They are that bad and the quicker we accept it the better. The morning Wash Post showed us what is going on. Sports had an article about Ted and making the fan experience better. All he cares about is butts in the seats. Would it not seem prudent to put a contending product on the ice instead of worrying about Google Glass? Take some of that freakin research money and put it into researching the top GM’s in waiting. This team is an embarrassment to its fan base. Trades and signings of big contracts have killed this team!

  • Alex Hughes

    I think Marty Erat thinks penalties are goals the way and amount he’s taking them

  • Jaime

    Well the players shouldn’t, but I’m not gonna get myself all worked up at home. I have other things to concern myself with.

  • JakeDubber

    [x] Agree

  • John Atchison

    You have a better of chance of Ted writing a blog about “we played harder” and we got to dig deep. Oh and come to Verizon and use Google Glass

  • Seth Malaguerra

    They’re his subtle reminders to management that he still wants to be traded.

  • Jimmie

    *deep sigh*

  • Jack Conness

    I don’t even know what to say anymore.

  • JakeDubber

    You know, I was thinking this the other day when he speared Boyle’s balls. Maybe its all just a way of making himself jettison off a sinking ship faster?

  • Owen Johnson

    You either copy and paste the link or there should be an icon on the lower lefthand side of the comment box (whatever it’s called) where you can upload files.

  • Jack Conness

    I tried that…no success. Whatever, not too big of a deal. Thanks for the help!

  • JH

    Interesting Locker blamed Erat as much as Dima for the turnover that led to that goal. Erat made a bad pass to Dima that he had trouble handling. Soft Neuvy goal too, that one.

    If Grabo is hurt bad, doom.

  • JH

    PS, isn’t there a “Niklas Backstrom”on the Caps? Where did he go?

  • Manitoba_Mercy

    Is it just me or does anyone else think Oates doesn’t put out the most optimal lines.

  • JakeDubber

    Cmon man it’s Obama’s strategy #Change

  • Seth Malaguerra

    Google Glass to improve the Verizon Center experience. They’ll transpose the NHL team of your choice onto the ice, so you don’t have to watch the Caps play.

  • Owen Johnson

    No. He plays for the Wild, NiCklas Backstrom plays for the Caps however.

  • Owen Johnson

    Rabble rabble rabble. The Caps are the worst team ever. Rabble Rabble rabble. Leonsis doesn’t care. Rabble rabble rabble. This team doesn’t commit to excellence. Rabble rabble rabble. Time to blow the team up!

    Jesus Christ people. If we miss the playoffs, you realize it’ll be the FIRST TIME IN SEVEN YEARS that happened. We’re not THAT bad of a franchise. This feels shitty right now, but try to keep a level head. I’m convinced that, even though this is a mediocre at best team, they are WAAAY better than they have been the last couple weeks. We’ll get through it. There are plenty more good and bad days ahead of us.

  • JakeDubber

    Metro Division vs Southeast

  • moto

    i get the fire GMGM as a fan perspective, bc what other easy answers are there? but, what will that solve? what is he not doing that we know he can do? fans ask for trades, but fans dont know the market, maybe he is trying…just bc one team picked up a player, doesnt mean that player was available to the capitals. i believe its more complicated that it seems.

  • Alex Hughes

    The good and sad thing is is that we are only 5 points back of the Rangers for second in the Metro and we have two games in hand on them

  • JH

    Color me inept at spelling Swedish names. Still, shouldn’t he be stepping it up? Just sayin.

  • Owen Johnson

    The Wild goalie is Finnish :p

  • Owen Johnson

    You mean the MEH-tropolitan which really hasn’t been that much better than the SE?

  • JH

    There is a significant Swedish minority in Finland. His nationality may be Finnish, but his ethnicity and name are surely Swedish. :p

  • Owen Johnson

    You’re probably right. I’m just giving you a hard time.

  • Daniel Walker

    Once Jack Hillen comes back we will never lose again.

  • Chris Cerullo

    We dominated the Southeast and are getting shat upon in the Metro. Don’t understand your point.

  • JH

    It’s all good.

  • Owen Johnson

    Because we’re WORSE than we were last year. That’s not to say it won’t get better.

  • JH

    And don’t forget about Kuzya.

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

    Yes.

  • Seth Malaguerra

    League points standings have Bolts 8th, Canes 22nd, Caps 24th, Jets 25th, and Panthers 27th. Yeah. The SE was that bad.

  • Owen Johnson

    I see a blue handprint! Must be season 2!

  • JakeDubber

    Pick competent, experienced coaches? Not dictate lineups to coaches? Not trade away prospects for crappy short-term players?

  • gustafsson16

    Defense and goaltending have taken alot of flak this season (and most of it merited), but during this past seven games its been the offense that has failed us. Horribly. Last 7…
    Buf 2 Was 1 (SO)
    SJ 2 Was 1 (SO)
    Pit 4 Was 3
    CBJ 5 Was 1
    NYR 4 Was 1
    Ott 2 Was 0
    NJ 2 Was 1
    So…of the 7 losses, we failed to score more than one goal in all but the Pitt game (and #8 has only missed the last 2 so that excuse doesnt fly). Clearly no one on this team other than Jay Beagle wanted to score tonight. I remember people saying how we were overpaying Semin/we could get plenty of secondary scoring from others to account for his offensive contribution…yeah, hows that working out now that we’re seeing how a full season plays out with only one threat (#8) in the arsenal?

  • JakeDubber

    No, it won’t. It’s either sink or swim. We’re drowning in a whirlpool of mediocrity. What’s your suggestion for improving? Stay the course? I think we’ve been doing that for 5+ seasons and NOTHING has changed

  • Barrett

    The brighter days left when McPhee took over the GM position.

  • JakeDubber

    So what’s your excuse for our Defense then?

  • JakeDubber

    Specifically the Pittsburgh and Rangers games

  • Owen Johnson

    We’ve also run into some pretty scorching hot goaltenders in pretty much all of those games. A lot of it is crappy play, but that is one reason.

  • JakeDubber

    You… you aren’t serious, are you?

  • JakeDubber

    *snort*

  • JakeDubber

    And the Bolts actually pulled together and fixed shit when Stamkos got hurt. Our response? Floundering mess.

  • JH

    Gustafsson16 nailed it. Our inability to score is a bigger problem than the D.

  • Matt Root

    exactly

  • Barrett

    Because in 17 years he built the team you are looking at…with nothing to show for it…and is the 2nd or 3rd longest tenured GM in the NHL. About the only thing he does well (and it’s not hard on most his selections) is draft well, but that could be more scouting than anything. He’s horrible in free agency, horrible with trades and horrible with contracts.

  • JakeDubber

    Why is it a bigger problem? Not being snarky, I’m really curious. I believe most of our problems this year stem from a solid D corps. Even if we were scoring at the same levels as we were in 2009 – 2011, the game has changed to require strong d-corps as well as fast-moving, skilled Offense

  • Owen Johnson

    No, that’s the problem; EVERYTHING has changed. 4 years ago we won a President’s Trophy. I don’t care what division you play in, that automatically means you don’t suck. And yes, this team has made some pretty baffling personnel moves the last few seasons. Things DO have to change, but I’m not gonna sit here and pretend to know what those are (although I would not be upset if we get a new GM next year…). I’m just trying to say that just because we suck right now, it doesn’t mean impending doom. In my lifetime, this has been the only DC franchise that has not consistently sucked. They WILL be good again. I just don’t know when. But until then I WILL continue to watch. I WILL continue to go to games. And I WILL continue to support them.

    Sorry. Rant over. I don’t know if it’s even intelligible.

  • Barrett

    Peter Bondra can still play, right? He’s only a year or two older than Teemu Selanne!

  • Owen Johnson

    Um. I am serious. Bobrovsky, Anderson, and Schneider have been lights out recently. For a team that can’t put it in the net that pretty much spells doom.

  • Manitoba_Mercy

    I think that pittsburgh game really deflated this team. After that a couple of mistakes by orlov early in the next two games and we couldnt recover, something we did a lot of earlier in the season.

  • JH

    Last seven games: Only one game with three or more goals scored. Four games where opposition held to two or fewer goals. I think that’s more of an indictment of the offense.

    Plus I much more enjoy watching a game where we score a lot than dreadfully boring Hunter hockey.

  • gustafsson16

    There is no excuse for the defense. Its a poorly constructed abomination that has hindered our ability to get deep in the playoffs for years now. The team has a ‘we will beat you by outscoring you’ build. This franchise’s days of 1-0 wins are long gone. You’re right that the game has changed to require a strong d-corps, but the organization has failed to build that way. If we arent scoring 3-4 goals a night, wins will continue to evade us.

  • Daniel Walker

    We got hoodwinked by Ottowa in that Bondra, Brooksie trade. Ill take a 45 year old P-Bo over a 30 year old Brooksie any day.

  • Manitoba_Mercy

    We have some of the right peices but just wrongly used. 90 as a wing, fehr not being on the top line, and maybe erskine being in the lineup hurts the D a bit

  • gustafsson16

    My only consolation is that the one that wasnt scorching was Andre-Flury. During a losing streak, its the little things that bring me joy.

  • Mathew G

    I have a similar memory. Mine focuses around Matt Hendricks (but may have involved Chimmers as well). A young boy was at a caps practice and stood with the crowd afterwards hoping for an autograph. Ovie and a couple other players came through on their way out but seemed to be in a bit of a rush so they didn’t linger long and the boy missed out. He was visibly upset and one of the players noticed (this may have been chimmers) and he went back into the locker room and grabbed Hendy. And they didn’t leave until everyone who wanted an autograph had one. This is the moment that solidified Hendy as my favorite player…and also why I was so bummed to see him leave.

  • OlietheGoalie

    You do realize that we want PROgression from our team, right? Not REgression. We are regressing. We are no closer to the winning the Cup.

  • Barrett

    Hunter hockey wins games and championships.
    Oates hockey gets you nothing. Nobody wants to play for a coach that throws everyone else under the bus and takes no blame. He did it his entire career.

  • Barrett

    Is there a trade GMGM had made in which he wasn’t hoodwinked?

  • Seth Malaguerra

    There are roster issues. But this team is also just playing some fundamentally bad hockey. There are ways to score goals without being a sniper and the Caps aren’t making serious attempts at them. Chimera and Beagle get in front of the net tonight, goal. Why isn’t the team playing like that the whole game? If they plan to break a scoring slump through pretty tic-tac-toe plays or sniping they will have a rough run of it. There’s as big of a coaching issue as a roster issue right now, in my opinion.

  • JH

    I don’t recall the Caps hoisting the Cup two years ago.

  • Owen Johnson

    Erat has been taking way to many Semins in the offensive zone lately.

  • Barrett

    Because Adam Oates is a tic-tac-toe guy, not a grinder crash the net meat and potatoes guy like Hunter and isn’t the run and gun like Boudreau either. He wants puck possession with pretty designed plays and passes. That’s why he’s generally a power play guru.

  • Barrett

    Did you miss the Bruins, Kings, and Blackhawks holding Lord Stanley’s Cup over their heads? That’s Hunter hockey.

  • Owen Johnson

    Well I can’t really do much to make them better. Can I?

  • Owen Johnson

    The Chimera trade wasn’t too bad…

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Losing seven in a row is inexcusable.

  • JenniferH

    *sigh* I want Oates gone.

  • kemiisto

    What does McPhee get his wages for? If he can’t hire a good coach and do trades even when they are requested by players, then what for? For being Ted’s friend?

    Ted (not surprisingly) seems to be a person thinking only in terms of money: the Caps are in terrible position, but he celebrates 1 year of Monumental Network and is happy about being the first in sports to launch Google Glass app. So the only way to speak with him is also in terms of money, say, to stop buying tickets.

  • kemiisto

    And horrible with constantly hiring inexperienced coaches.

  • HOLE

    That’s because your beauty-boy Hole-tby didn’t play last night right?

  • JenniferH

    No, because, other than Ovi, Oates has screwed up the entire team… pretty much the same thing that everyone else has been saying. I thought that other than the first goal (which showed Neuvy being a bit leaky), Neuvy was great last night and that he made some absolutely fantastic saves.

    If I wanted Oates fired for that reason, I would have been saying this, oh, I don’t know throughout the month of December and not after a 7-game losing streak. Use your idiotic snark for when it actually makes sense.

  • Seth Malaguerra

    I recall the Bruins, Kings and Blackhawks possessing the puck in the puck in the offensive zone. A step beyond Hunter hockey.

  • Barrett

    It’s the same concept. Get the puck in deep, cycle and grind, players in front of the net, get pucks to the net, crash the net. Oates system looks very similar, but he wants more passes and there seems to never be bodies in front or crashing the net. Just think about how both (Hunter and Oates) playing style was – that’s their system. Part of the problem is they have half the players to run Boudreaus style and half to run the down low cycle. Most hockey purists would probably consider Hunter and Oates systems closest to “playoff hockey”.

  • Diller M

    I agree that Oates has yet to prove he can coach, but I will always take puck moving high scoring hockey, over the trap garbage that Hunter produced. The idea that that boring mess is the only way to win is what has brought us to this point. The Caps had the and the style to win in 09 and 10 but blew it up over a few bad bounces. I think we will see this year with the Ducks that Bruce had it right all along. God help all of us hockey loving trap hating fans if the Caps hire another trap coach.

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

    Amen, dude. I was a Boudreau stalwart and I always will be.

  • Langway

    Holtby should get the call in net tonight against the Habs and hopefully gets on a roll for the rest of the season. And maybe, just maybe the rest of the team shows up. Fingers crossed! The turn around has to start somewhere, it might as well start with Holtby.

  • Foppa

    But he doesn’t even do that (draft) very well, look how high they’re drafting! Det etc never pick in the top 3 to even have a chance at an Ovie or Malkin, but they somehow find ways to get guys like datsyuk zetta etc in the 6th and 7th rounds yr after yr. Schultz was a GMGM first rounder, enough said! He’s not even good in the ahl now.

    GMGM us brutal, the media protects him and fans are waaaaay too patient.

    In pro sports you’re lucky to get one rebuild – how many is this now for GMGM I’ve list count. People compare him to the buff GM (since fired) but that guy didn’t exactly have uncle teds wallet backing him up!

    Sorry for the rant but I’ve had it with GMGM – and his acolytes.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Making the playoffs is enough these days? Typical DC sportsfan.

  • Diller M

    I don’t know if Oates hasn’t already lost this team. Between the constant line changes, the goalie mess and the Erat situation, I think the guys have started to second guess the coach. Unless there is something being preached in the locker room that we don’t know, it seems to me that the team, which appears very close, has become fed up with Oates’ decisions, right now I think we are seeing a product that is frustrated and playing poorly due to a lack of top down direction. I think the players doubt whether he knows what he is doing as a coach. They see what we see and it must be crossing their minds every time Volpatti starts over Erat.

    And I really wanted Oates to do well…..

  • R.O’B.

    whose that #26 bro? and #1?

  • Eric Schulz

    Making the playoffs is all you can do in the regular season, so yeah, that’s all you can expect. Once the playoffs start, expectations change accordingly.

  • Eric Schulz

    Don’t give Hunter credit; he wasn’t a meat-and-potatoes crash the net guy, he was a “once Ovie scores once, he sits and we go into a shell, hopefully we can shut them down for the next 55 mins” guy, then “okay, they scored, let’s put Ovie back out” guy, then a “great, Ovie scored again, his job is done, let’s shut them down for the remaining 35 mins of the game” guy… he sucked, I hated everything he did for us. He used Ovie as a DH, and Ovie still put up a goal in 13 mins of ice time. Ovie entered that postseason as the leader among all active players in PPG in the playoffs (he always gets the blame for the Caps’ playoff problems too), but Hunter wanted to this team to play as if we didn’t have any talent. Watching his teams play was horrible, and it was a piss poor job of identifying the strengths of the team.

  • Eric Schulz

    I think the bigger problem in the playoffs was in goal; we had a rookie goalie in 3 straight years. We never seemed to get a big stop, and often seemed to allow one soft one that blew the game open (watch the Tampa series again, we dominated for 7, but Roloson was awesome, then they scored in 35 secs of offensive zone time in every game).

  • Eric Schulz

    You didn’t watch Hunter hockey… Hunter hockey was about getting the lead (via Ovechkin, a guy he clearly didn’t like), then playing in our defensive zone until the game ended. Of course, that didn’t work much, so as soon as we got scored on, he’d throw Ovie out there again, we’d go up 2-1, then it’s back to playing in our zone.

  • Eric Schulz

    JH – You forget that defense creates offense. If your defenders can’t take away the puck, then you’re stuck in the defensive zone a bunch. If they take it away, we transition back to offense faster, and spend more time on the attack.

  • Barrett

    I’m not talking about defensive schemes. Hunter would try his damndest to hold a one goal lead, I have as talking about their offensive schemes.

  • Barrett

    Unfortunately the wide open run and gun style offense doesn’t work in the playoffs if you play a good defensive team like the Rangers and Canadiens who get good goal tending and can block a bunch of shots. Your best chance is to run and gun is against a team with a similar style.

  • Eric Schulz

    What is he not doing that he should be? We don’t know the trade market? Well, I DO know one thing about the trade market: if you have a massively talented prospect, you can trade him for a mediocre, overpaid 3rd line winger. I would go ahead and NOT make that trade, even if we weren’t already nearly capped out, but GMGM disagreed apparently. It’s not about what he ISN’T doing, it’s about what he HAS done. I would’ve ONLY traded Forsberg if we could’ve gotten a young, top-4 defender (which, btw, would’ve been a pretty fair trade). We need TWO things; cheap talent up front, and defensive defensemen to fill out the top-4 (or two-way guys). We traded away the former, and didn’t get the latter in return? Idiotic decision. We also needed to clear cap space, and we actually took on cap space, reason #2 that was a horrible trade. THEN, add in the fact that we didn’t have a spot for Erat (he was redundant), and it seems like Oates agrees, so I clearly was right to think that. Reason #3 that was a bad trade. One of the worst trades of the last 20 years. He’s made quite a few trades that I didn’t like that seemed like trading a dollar for 3 quarters and a dime or so… not horrible, but slight steps back, particularly when we moved Pothier for Belanger and Corso (it was a few trades, I don’t remember who all was involved, but I remember those names); I didn’t like it at the time, and the results bore that out. Also, I’m not sure what Semin was asking for, but letting him go was a horrible decision also; he had some nice playoff rounds, and some not so nice, but he was a great luxury to have, and without him I didn’t think we’d be as dangerous – I thought we’d drop from contender to perennial playoff team; seems I was right.
    It hasn’t been ALL bad, of course; adding Grabovski was nice (although a no-brainer, he doesn’t get that much credit), but before that using Eakin to get Ribeiro was excellent. But overall, he’s made mostly horrible moves, and even his drafting has been spotty. I don’t know what he SHOULD’VE done, but I know a lot that he has were bad decisions.

  • Eric Schulz

    I don’t think he had an offensive scheme, other than “play Ovie” when we were down or tied, or “dump the puck then retreat to the defensive zone” when we were up.

  • Eric Schulz

    I disagree. The Blackhawks won the Cup 2 of the last 4 years. Run and gun doesn’t mean you can’t play defense and/or have good defense; or, if that’s how you define it, then all you’d need to do is keep playing the same way, just add a top-4 defender or two.

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

    Blackhawks have won 2 in 4 years