Nabby Nabs the Shutout: Isles beat Caps 1-0

strachan martin - Patrick Smith

Strachan vs Martin (Photo: Patrick Smith)

They’re not all barnburners. Some games merely are. They start, sixty minutes pass, and then they’re over. Tuesday’s Capitals-Islanders game wasn’t completely free of drama, but it was a low-scoring, mostly sleepy affair. Every time something cool was about to happen, a countervailing uncool thing (whiff, penalty, Milbury) canceled it out. Worst of all, the Caps lost.

The game went scoreless for 42 minutes until Andrew MacDonald’s muffin floated past Neuvirth. Is that it? Yeah, that’s it. That’s dumb.

Isles beat Caps 1-0. Shut out for Evgeni Nabokov.

  • Precog Tyson Strachan kinda/sorta fought Matt Martin in the first period. It wasn’t much of a fight, but clearly Strachan saw Martin’s future and the iffy hit to come on Dmitry Orlov 40 minutes later. Let’s just address that now.
  • Matt Martin probably had to pack a lunch for his long trip across the ice to hit Dmitry Orlov into the boards. If Martin has any kind of defense, it’s that Orlov turned towards the boards a split second before as he prepared for a slap-pass dump-in. We shall see. Seems like, with Mike Green out, Jack Capuano painted a target on Orlov’s back. Isles were lining up to cream him all night long. The press corps will be interviewing him in an ice bath.
  • The Capitals are really good at giving up shorthanded chances. The natural habitat of the odd-man rush is Verizon Center, and their breeding season is the Capitals power play. Tonight saw no fewer than three, with one by Michael Grabner earning a penalty shot (which Michal Neuvirth stopped).
  • Speaking of little Mikey, he was pretty great despite a light load. He had an electric glove save early in the third period that would have been the memorable moment of the night had it not been followed up by MacDonald’s goal a minute later.

Interlude.

INT. NBCSN STUDIO – EVENING.

MILBURY: Hey, JR.

ROENICK: Yeah, Mikey?

MILBURY: This game is awful boring. What are we gonna talk about during the intermission?

ROENICK:  Hmm. That IS a pickle, Mike.

[beat]

ROENICK: Say! You still have that old sack of bullshit lying around?

MILBURY (reaching for old sack of bullshit, kept under the desk): Of course, JR. I never go anywhere without my trusty old sack of bullshit.

ROENICK:  Perfect! Let’s just throw that around the studio again.

MILBURY: JR, you’re a genius! Here! I’m gonna smear some on the walls!

ROENICK:  Looks great, looks great. Here; let me try!

MILBURY: Okay, but try not to get any on Russ Thaler.

ROENICK: No promises, Mike.

End scene.

  • The Caps drew a bunch of penalties in this one, but in their determination to wage a fair fight, they chose to commit a bunch of their own. Troy Brouwer spoiled a power play with lame interference call, John Erskine had zero pressure when he put the puck over the glass, and John Carlson hooked to shut down Grabner’s breakaway. Stinky, stinky Caps.
  • Those penalties might have been a factor in the Caps surrendering momentum (Peter-code for puck possession) at the end of the second period. Before that, the Caps looked pretty darn good (except boring). The Isles definitely were the better team in the final frame, and that was the one that decided the game. Sad trombone.
  • Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer had a pair of windy whiffs from a first-period power play that, in hindsight, seem kinda unfortunate.

So, class, what did we learn?

We learned that the Caps are bad at stopping breakaways. We learned that they need more discipline. We learned that the glass around the ice needs to be like five feet taller. We learned that Mike Milbury is a blowhard.

Wait, we knew all that stuff already.

Shoot. We learned nothing tonight. And the Caps let another pair of standings points escape them.

Welp.

  • JakeDubber

    That game SUCKED. Neuvirth was fantastic and really stuck his neck out, stood on his head, and generally saved the game IMO.

    Defense was meh at best, offense was clearly nonexistent.

    THE PROBLEM IS NOT IN NET, MCPHEE. DONT YOU DARE TRADE FOR MILLER.

    Erat allllllllllllllllllllmost got a goal. I think.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Man our goalie was sure awful today. We would have won that one with a solid, dare I say Ryan Miller esque goalie in net. Would have been 4 or 5 to 1. Man what a shame.

  • Matt Lauer

    the “spatial awareness” is terrible.
    the “sweat effort” is terrible.
    clearly if we fix those two items the team will be we awesome.

  • Graham Dumas

    Miller would have got us at least eight standings points this game. He can also slam a revolving door.

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    Good, I’m glad we lost.

    This team is what they appear to be and no bs rental is going to help them vie for a playoff position. The more losses we take, the less likely we would be to add Miller.

  • Nicole Lippy

    We had no defense or offense tonight, just “goalie”.

  • Daniel Walker

    What word is the exact opposite of inspiring? Whatever that word is, thats how our boys played tonight.

  • Spencer

    I’m usually a huge defender of Oates but this is getting old. His system doesn’t even seem to include the word defense.

  • Rob W.

    Embarrassing and depressing, but yet i found myself laughing at the end of the game which says a lot about what this team is doing to my mental health. The 2nd and 3rd period was the worst hockey i have ever seen. Awful shooting, passing, decision making. The PP going 0-6 against the worst PK in the league isnt going to get you into the playoffs. But all is well, if we keep playing like this GMGM wont get Miller and he will be fired

  • Alex Hughes

    Everytime that John Erskine is on the ice he does nothing but bad. On the Islanders goal there was a pass around the net that Erskine went to in slow motion that any other D-man in the league could have gotten to. The Islanders then took the puck passed it to the point and scored. I mean how many mistakes can this guy make before being benched. It’s unbelievable how bad he is. He barely shows a physical presence which is the only “positive” that he has. I’m sorry but I can’t take John Erskine on this team anymore. Free Nate Schmidt from Hershey for the love of god,

  • Graham Dumas

    Also, what is this dump and chase crap we’ve been trying to pull this season?! It just doesn’t work at all.

  • Alex Hughes

    Ride Neuvirth out until the Olympic break, he has been fantastic. I see no reason to put Holtby in anytime soon.

  • JakeDubber

    /sarcasm

  • JakeDubber

    We don’t NEED Miller. We NEED stay-at-home D-men who can cover their checks without constantly giving up odd man rushes and leaving our goaltenders out to dry

  • JakeDubber

    Demoralizing?

  • Stardawg

    The key word is chase. Dump and chase works if you chase down the puck after you dump it in. The Caps just don’t chase it down or fight for the puck in the corners

  • JakeDubber

    He is playing severely injured. He needs to either take a long break or stop playing hockey. He’s not doing this team any favors

  • JakeDubber

    +Agree

  • Jay DeLancey

    whats your source for his injury?

  • Graham Dumas

    That’s the thing: we don’t really have the speed or grit for that type of play. I don’t understand it, but to me Oates doesn’t seem to be able to recognize weaknesses on the team. Or, maybe this is as good as it gets for us now. Either way, not good at all.

  • JakeDubber

    I think I’ve figured it out! There is no system.

    We just keep randomly putting together hockey players and hope for the best.

  • John Atchison

    Lets just face the fact that the team is horrible. They barely got points against a battered Detroit team, and tonight this. Yes Neuvy was great, but this team cannot put together consistent efforts. I dont want to hear another person talk about “if Erat was used right.” Its utter crap. He was the catalyst to destroying power plays continuously tonight. Bad passes, no puck control. We really are in a crappy place. A GM know one wants making moves, guys that make too much money or others who cant stay on the ice. Sad times indeed

  • JessHughes

    We’ve all talked about Oates, but at what point do we start discussing Calle Johansson? If there is a system, it is poorly executed; and most nights the “system” appears to be 1) let opponent take blue line with speed and space, 2) keep retreating, 3) make half-hearted poke check, 4) make ill-advised pass or fail to clear the zone, and 4) allow the other team to regain possession and cycle the puck. Sometimes they mix it up with a penalty or screen of their own goalie. I have no answers, not with our current D personnel, but then again, I’m not paid to have them.

  • Alex Hughes

    I’ve been wondering the same thing for a while now.

  • John Atchison

    Just not sure how much you put on him, and how much it has to do with the personnel on the ice.

  • JakeDubber

    Ok I maybe stated that a bit prematurely or incorrectly. I apologize.

    However, it seems as though he is avoiding contact in the crease and is handling the puck very oddly compared to how he has done so in the past.

    Historically, he has only done this badly when he has been injured.

    I suppose what I should have said is that I fear he is severely injured or tending to a lingering issue and is trying to play it off extremely poorly

  • Guest
  • John Atchison

    His wallet is weighing him down. Must be the curse of Les Caps. Sign mediocre D-Men to hefty contracts, then watch them turn to pylons

  • yv

    While it was bad game to watch, even maybe the back breaker for Caps hope to get in postseason, I suspecting you might not leave alone those MM comments

  • JakeDubber

    Oh Calle needs to go BEFORE Oates.

    Oates needs to be reassigned to permanent Power Play coach. He is PHENOMENAL at it!! Look no further than the resurgence of Ovi’s goal scoring to prove me right

    However, our D has been in shambles for months (years?) and it hasn’t gotten better.

    We need change up in the Caps staff and we need it NOW

  • Barrett

    Give Neuvirth the #1 goalie position. Holtby can be his backup from this point moving forward.
    Erat on the top line seems to give him a heart beat, but Backstrom has vanished. That 4th line looked good with Laich down with Wellman and Wilson. Orlov was the best defenseman (offensively and defensively) by far. The power play looks like one of those frozen semi-decayed dog turds in my backyard.

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    Don’t tell me that, tell McPhee, Oates and Teddy.

  • Stardawg

    Agreed, although I think we have enough speed and grit, just can’t seem to get anyone other that Chimera and Ward to buy into it.

  • John Atchison

    I think most fans tune out that dumba$%. He has been that way for years. I suppose everyone needs a hobby. Like someone said, Milbury has how many rings himself?

  • Matt Lauer

    I don’t think we have NEARLY enough of either.

  • John Atchison

    you could change the staff, but you still have Erskine playing. Carrick is nt ready for this level. Green is once again injured. Your playing Tyson Strachan…

  • Stardawg

    Oates said he would like someone to grab the #1 and force him to play him every night. Looks like Neuvy’s doing just that

  • JakeDubber

    I did, at the Caps Fan Appreciation night. I don’t think he liked that one bit. He still stood with me for a picture, so I guess I felt like a huge dick :(

    Needed to be said though. No regrets

    #GMGMPLSGO2014

  • James Desautels

    I Had to DVR an epi of New Girl for that. Maybe we can trade Erskine for that.

  • JakeDubber

    I meant to say I told Teddy this

  • Matt Lauer

    ERSKINE IS A MAINSTAY OF THIS ORGANIZATION.

    :(

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

    I think relieving Calle and changing the way D covers guys in the D zone (that is– not challenging at the blue line) would be a great move.

  • Daniel Walker

    We dont need Miller but we’re getting him anyways. GMGM is about to f×#k this fan base for years to come to save his job.

  • JakeDubber

    We don’t. We have very much neither

  • JessHughes

    Leading to the existential question: do you change the system to fit your players or your players to fit the system? Note: the fact that no one outside Green, Alzner, and Carlson should be wearing a NHL sweater speaks to issues beyond coaching.

  • Barrett

    I thought the same for Oates and his power play genius, but when you go 0-6 against the WORST penalty kill team in the league something is seriously wrong.

  • Matt Lauer

    Schmidt should be wearing a sweater. Orlov is acceptable and I believe he will improve. I actually thought Carrick played well tonight.

  • Heidi

    So basically Miller is hockey’s Chuck Norris

  • RESmith

    Caps Management: Rumor has it LA might be willing to part with a defenseman for a player with a modicum of offensive ability. You know, like a certain player who asked for a trade. Just sayin’.

  • JakeDubber

    Oh of course. But veteran coaches/staff would see this and bring it up to higher management as a source of woe for their playoff chances.

    A good GM would see this and demand either healthiness or a trade that would see their talents put to better use elsewhere.

  • Matt Lauer

    JEFF SCHULTZ RETURNS.

  • Alex Hughes

    Lets look at Mike Milbury’s career highlights:

    1. He went into the stands of MSG and beat a guy with his own shoe as a member of the Bruins

    2. Coaching the 91 Wales Conference All Star Team he chose two enforcers over Kirk Muller and Guy Lafleur

    3 As Islanders GM he traded away Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden, Bryan Berard, Eric Brewer, Darius Kasparaitis, Bryan McCabe, Roberto Luongo, Tommy Salo, Olli Jokinen, Todd Bertuzzi, Tim Connolly, and Raffi Torres.

    4. He chose Rick DiPietro 1st overall over Dany Heatley, and Marian Gaborik in 2000 and he traded the 2nd overall pick in the 2001 draft which turned out to be Jason Spezza for Alexei Yashin, who the Islanders are still paying over 2 million dollars for the next two seasons not to play for their hockey team.
    Impressive.

  • JakeDubber

    Orlov and Schmidt are definitely NHL caliber, albeit a little on the green side. Their time will come, sooner or later, and they’ve shown that they can hang with the big dogs as well.

    I really wish we hadn’t waiver’d Oleksy UNLESS GMGM is pulling out the big guns for some excellent veteran stay-at-home D-men

  • James Desautels

    Some of you younger guys or newer fans may not get this reference but…John Erskine = Jason Doig. Tell me I am wrong.

  • Matt Lauer

    Oh my gosh that’s so true.

  • Diller M

    As I was nodding off in the third period I had a premonition of a heavy-set woman warming up her vocal cords…. I wonder what that could mean?

  • JakeDubber

    I heard he scored 4 goals by himself one night and even posted one in a shootout

  • JakeDubber

    Psst… ^Upper Management^

  • RESmith

    Oh God, No!! (But I wouldn’t put it past this team.)

  • Diller M

    You forgot 6) fall down

  • JenniferH

    Well, that game lacked luster. Sigh. We really need something to get this game goalie, and no, GMGM, Ryan Miller is NOT it.

  • James Desautels

    Dude I have like 27 of those turds right now…each time it thaws out up here in Boston and I say to myself, “ok this weekend I am cleaning the backyard” BAM we get hit with another snowstorm and the turds hibernate again. Tragic.

  • Roman Z.

    So we’re known for giving up a goal (or a few) right after scoring one and now turnovers on PP are becoming a thing ?!?

  • JakeDubber

    no wai… you mean MICHAL NEUVIRTH????????????

  • Roman Z.

    “to get this game goalie” lol I’m sure that’s what you meant to say

  • Matt Lauer

    I wonder, does GMGM read the comments on the blog? PLEASE?!

  • Jaime

    What if they called up a few Bears coaches and scratched Oates and Johansson? Is that an option?

  • James Desautels

    I will say Erat should have had a better role earlier on, but for several games now he has had numerous chances and doesnt know where the back of the net is. I get that he can control the puck well at times and has talent, but with 0 goals STILL I dont care if hes traded away at this point. He has less than 40 shots all year. On a goal starved team from everyone other than Ovi I want players shooting pucks, not circling the net over and over and throwing it back to the point.

  • Jack Terry

    I can’t believe the amount of turnovers the caps had on all of their pp’s. They were making no look passes that resulted in odd man rush after odd man rush. They looked asleep out there – Bottom Line.

  • JakeDubber

    We want Oates, honestly. Johansson? TRADE THE BUM. Err… fire him?

  • Alex Hughes

    If GMGM decides to actually trade for Miller, we are gonna have to give a lot to get him. We would have to probably send Laich, Erat, Grubauer, a defenseman not named John Erskine and probably draft picks. There goes any depth we had and what we would have him for one season before Miller decides to leave. That would be one of the dumbest moves in Caps history.

  • Jack Terry

    One goal against is awful? what?

  • JakeDubber

    Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn I forgot all about Jason… :(

  • JenniferH

    Holtby did that for months and has been getting screwed royally since December. Oates clearly doesn’t care about loyalty when it comes to goaltenders so I don’t see what good it will do Neuvy once he hits a rough game or two, Oates will just screw him. Goalies clear are a dime a dozen to Oates and GMGM and easily discarded.

  • Stardawg

    Why is Ovechkin above criticism? Whether you like Milbury or not, what he’s saying is true. Ovi’s play without the puck is poor. If he combined his phenomenal ability to score with a concerted effort to back-check and play hard defensively he could be so much more dominating.

  • JakeDubber

    I think that fat lady sang in the second period…

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again

    DiPietro was a very good goalie with a lot of talent, he could’ve been great if not for the injuries… Also Garth Snow signed him to the 15 yr deal, so you can’t fault that on Milbury.

  • JakeDubber

    Game goalie? WTF?

  • JakeDubber

    Shhhhhhhhhh just let it happen *Quietly pushes head into sand like Ostrich*

  • Roman Z.

    If I could upvote this comment a thousand times, I would.

  • Nicole Lippy

    No one is saying he’s above criticism, just that he is by no means one-dimensional.

  • JenniferH

    team going, I meant to say ‘get the team going.’ Oops, edited. Totally messed up my sentence there.

  • factoryofsadness

    Yep, GMGM, goaltending really is the problem. What a crock.

  • Stardawg

    Whats his second dimension?

  • rot-earth

    Ovi floats WAY TOO MUCH.

  • JakeDubber

    Some say that he is among us as we speak, counter-posting with bullshit trivia and misplaced enthusiasm for the ‘coming years’

    ALL WE KNOW IS… He’s called GMGM

  • Roman Z.

    aaaaand I’m just going to leave this here …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19aradatV2M

  • JakeDubber

    *Will be

  • Chris Cerullo

    I really hope you’re joking because I don’t think I can be anymore obviously sarcastic.

  • JakeDubber

    To be honest it seriously looked like they were TRYING to lose that game as non-obviously as possible

  • Stardawg

    Highlight number one is pretty awesome…it was all downhill from there

  • James Desautels

    Sorry for reminding you.

  • JenniferH

    Typo, I meant “get the team going” my brain rushed ahead of my fingers. I’ve edited it.

  • Barrett

    How about going after Scott Stevens as his replacement. We shall rob the Devils assistant coaching cubbard until it is bare!

  • factoryofsadness

    I see what you did there.

  • JakeDubber

    Seriously. It’s getting to the point that he’s standing by while his team gets scored on

  • Matthew Kory

    I’m getting some work done tonight and my wife comes in and tells me that one of our kids (two 5-year-olds) left an unflushed poop and about seven rolls of semi-used toilet paper in the upstairs bathroom. While I was handling that problem, it occurred to me that this was the perfect metaphor for the Caps season. The only redeeming thing I’ve found in this my season of discontent and unflushed poo, is here at RMNB. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Ovie has been awesome as well. But other than that it’s RMNB vs…. well, you know.

  • JakeDubber

    *Sigh* I guess it’s nothing out of the ordinary, right?

  • Alex Hughes

    What does Blaine Forsythe do behind the bench? I know he’s a video coach but I don’t think you can do that on the bench. And whatever happened to Tim Hunter?

  • JakeDubber

    Hahaha that shoe beating was the stuff of legends! Don’t talk shit

  • James Desautels

    No one said he is, but if you are calling out the one guy literally carrying 17 others on his back almost every single game you are misguided. Crosby doesnt exactly play defense either, yet no one touches him. Also, wingers have different roles in D zone…if Ovi were a C then some of the D zone critics would be spot on. Wingers arent usually supposed to be stuck too low digging pucks, they cover high and backup the side boards or sometimes rotate to high slot to cover a backdoor skater trying to pinch in. Cs are by role supposed to be supporting lower and almost a 3rd D to cover the net front area when needed.

  • James Desautels

    Also, if anyone other than Ovi could shoot or hit twine even 1 of every 5x Ovi has set him up, hed have about 4x the assists he has now, which would likely put him right up there near or over Sid for the lead.

  • Barrett

    1st dimension = scoar moar goals
    2nd dimension = if unable to scoar moar goals, hit anything that moves

  • Nicole Lippy

    I won’t deny that his defensive play is downright awful the majority of the time, but he is a heavy hitter, which does make an impact, breaking up plays being one of them. He’s shown the ability to make great passes and set up his teammates, and before you say he doesn’t do it enough, can you really blame him when he has the ability to score the way that he does and when he is relied upon to bail the team out? Yeah he floats, and that’s nothing new. It needs to change. But frankly, everyone on the team deserves criticism for their play right now.

  • James Desautels

    He wears checkered shirts and tie bars. Thats about all I can figure.

  • Barrett

    It’s called John Carlson. They typically have no problems entering the zone and getting setup with Mike Green. Carlson is becoming a turnover machine on the power play.

  • JakeDubber

    I dont think you finished your statement there, bud

  • Stardawg

    Right, but Ovechkin makes big circles away from the puck when he gets checked. He coasts back into the defensive zone when there are players he could catch on odd man rushes. I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying he could improve in these areas. The second half of last season he played great 2-way hockey, back-checking and creating offence by stealing the puck. I think that was the best he has ever played in his career. If he played like that he would win the MVP every year, hands down

  • JakeDubber

    Oh gawd…

  • Stardawg

    But, again, that has nothing to do with his defence. No one is criticizing his offence. Its pretty obvious to anyone who watches Ovi on a regular basis that he is a great passer as well as scorer

  • Barrett

    Sounds like GMGM and MM have a lot in common, didn’t McPhee go into the opposing teams dressing room tunnel and punch the head coach in the face?

  • CapsCast

    Call it one dimensional if you like, but Ovechkin is the best goal scorer in the world. There are billions of human beings on this Earth and he is better than every single one of them at scoring goals.

    Would you like him to pull back on offense and play more of a two-way game? Would that benefit the Capitals? One takes away from the other and you cannot have it both ways.

    You want him to back-check more often? That would impede his breakouts into the offensive zone and he wouldn’t score as many goals or be open for the passes to get shots off.

    People will knock him for not scoring at the same pace, so he can’t win.

  • Diller M

    Losing is the best thing for this team right now. If we lose a few more GMGM won’t be able to justify ‘buying’ coming back after the break. We need to lose, shed salary at the deadline, and acquire some prospects or picks. Winning now won’t help this team at all, we’re not gonna win the 15 or 16 games we need to before the end of the season, so let’s lose now and start the retooling process. Green and laich can take the rest of the season off as far as I’m concerned.

  • Stardawg

    If he used the same energy defensively that he uses when he sees a chance to score, or a chance to line someone up he would be a better player

  • Stardawg

    Good point about the hitting but I’m not criticizing his offence at all. I think he is a great passer of the puck. I don’t think he need to pass more at all, of course you want him to shoot. He is a great hitter, yes. My main point is why does everyone get on Milburys case for criticizing his poor play away from the puck?

  • Graham Dumas

    Just down some sortilege on the rocks and dream of better days…

  • Graham Dumas

    #RyanMillerFacts

  • Stardawg

    I said it lower down, I will say it again. The second half of last season Ovechkin played hard both offensively and defensively. I think it was the best hockey he has ever played, and it didn’t take away from his scoring at all. If anything it gave him more chances, allowed him to possess the puck even more, made it harder for opponents to score. Thats why he won the MVP even though he was pretty bad the first half of the season. And probably why the Caps went on such a tear and made the playoffs.

  • James Desautels

    I made that comment reg his potential assists to show he is a great passer and isnt 1-dimensional as Milbury always states. Ovi has 142 hits going into tonight vs Tavares 23 (Tavares is 2nd in NHL scoring). What more do you want? He could win the Selke every year like Datsyuk but that will come with more wear and tear and more time on IR and less goals, the last thing this team needs. He isnt our problem. Its D first, players not filling their roles 2nd.

  • Nicole Lippy

    I don’t really blame him for criticizing Ovechkin. But do I think he does it in an unbiased fashion all the time? No. But everyone is biased somehow, so I don’t really blame the guy.

  • Jack Conness

    We would’ve won if we had Ryan Miller.

  • James Desautels

    So using your logic we should prob consider Henrik Sedin or a Joe Thornton pretty 1 dimensional since all they do is rack up 70+ assists but dont really top 20Gs per year? Get those 1 dimensional guys outta here. If you cant win Selke, Norris, and Hart at same time you cant play for us.

  • Stardawg

    I think 142 hits makes you more likely to be on the IR than back-checking does. I also think a lot of the Caps problems on D are from them being outmanned because too many forwards, not just Ovechkin, don’t come back to help out enough. He isn’t the problem, I agree, but he could help out more. But if he scores 50-60 goals a year and doesn’t really back-check thats not such a bad problem to have.

  • James Desautels

    His pads were hand made….by Chuck Norris.

  • Stardawg

    1 dimensional is referring to offense vs defence. If you are one dimensional you only play one. Henrik definitely plays a 2 way game, Thornton not so much. I also would rather have Ovi than either of those 2. Don’t misread what I’m saying, Ovi is a phenomenal player, he could just be so much more.

  • CapsCast

    I didn’t notice a big increase in back-checking or defensive play at any point last season, but we all noticed a huge increase in his goal production. I’m not sure Ovechkin has ever consistently gone lower than the top of the circle in his own zone, and he shouldn’t. He’s not going to ever win the Selke, but that isn’t his game. His job is to score goals and that’s what he does. He won the MVP because his goal production led the Caps to go on a tear and win their division.

  • VeggieTart

    Will someone please tell Tyson Strachan not to fight again? Please?

  • Stardawg

    I don’t really like Milbury, I’m just confused that so many people think he’s an idiot for saying Ovi coasts too much. I agree that he’s biased against Ovi, but I think its just because its so rare to see someone as good as Ovechkin that can actually be quite a bit better.

  • Stardawg

    He’s just trying to point out that Erat has no finish :)

  • JakeDubber

    Awwww damn you got me

  • Lawrence

    Orlov had his best game by far. Kid was a stud today. And you are right about backstrom. We need him to be better pretty badly.

  • scrubversive

    Ryan Miller stops pucks just by lookin’ at ‘em. His (perpetually) raised eyebrow confuses vulcanized rubber into reconsidering the merits of going into the net. Do you smell what Miller is cookin’?

  • Stardawg

    Orlov sure proved he can take a hit too.

  • Nicole Lippy

    I understand the confusion, I suppose the outrage is mostly due to the fact that he truly is a pillar of the team, and it sucks to hear the bad stuff about one of the few good things we have left. Yeah, Ovechkin really could be, but he needs a coach to show him that. First he had Boudreau, the scoar moar goals era. Then we had Dale Hunter hockey, and well, everyone knows how that went. It stifled Ovi and they never got along anyway. And along comes Oates, yet again focusing on the offense. The Caps really need a coach that can see both sides of the game for Ovi and the team.

  • Stardawg

    If you’re happy with him just scoring goals thats fine. I don’t think he needs to win the Selke, he just needs help out a bit more defensively. And yes, his defensive play and back-checking last year was hugely improved. Much much better than this year

  • Graham Dumas

    Ryan Miller is actually the military’s codename for our anti-ballistic missile defense system. Purity of Essence!

  • Stardawg

    Yeah, Hunters system was a total waste of Ovechkins talent. I think Boudreau’s system was good, the team just didn’t buy into it like Anaheim has. Not sure Oates really has a system, at least not one that works

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

    Ovi is perceived to float because he’s an optimized scorer who is expecting to be set loose in the OZ as soon as his team gets the puck.

    Some analysts and some humans think they know when a player cares or does not care. That would require psychic abilities. All they have is actions to observe and conclusions to reach. This conclusion is shitty, and its repetition by Milbury and his ilk is evidence of hackitude and shitastery.

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

    Isles pwned the third period.

    Backstrom and Johansson got owned with just 30-34% puck possession. Doesn’t seem like they got matched up against anyone in particular either. Weird. No chemistry with Erat?

  • Nicole Lippy

    Oh Boudreau definitely had a good system, I’m just saying that it didn’t exactly lend to bolstering Ovi’s defensive side. Yeah, it’s hard to tell whether Oates has any plan. The constant re-shuffling of lines looking for chemistry seems to me that he’s scrambling. But, the entire team is. And while I am extremely questionable about Oates’s decisions, some of it comes down to the players as well.

  • H70

    I feel like the Caps exist for a reason…to help other teams break losing streaks and improve their record.

  • Nicole Lippy

    I’m not sure that Erat has chemistry with Erat sometimes.

  • Stardawg

    I don’t know what else to say but you are so wrong.

  • Stardawg

    So you don’t think Ovechkin can improve at all? Do you think he is playing as good as he did last year? Do you think he should not try to help out on an odd man rush because thats not his job, he’s an “optimized scorer”? I think hackitude and shitastery are good words to describe someone who works on a blog and is so blinded by their love for a certain player that they dismiss all criticism of that player as nonsense. Every player should always strive to be a better player, not so sure many Capitals believe that.

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

    Naw, I’m just saying I think Ovi is doing what he’s being coached to do.

    He’s allowing about one more shot attempt every other game compared to last season while generating a lot more offense.

    If we’re out to diagnose problems, I’d go with the abundance of odd-man rushes way before I’d go with how the league’s leading scorer defends against them.

    Man, if you think I’m blinded by my love of Alex Ovechkin and dismissive of all criticism, you must have skipped reading me during the 2010-11 and 2011-2012 seasons.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Rejoice! Erskine and Carrick were broken up! The result was even worse than that pair though… Strachan and Erskine were straight awful. Someone tell Tyson that you DONT FIGHT WHEN YOU HAVE THEM STUCK IN THEIR OWN ZONE AND ARE THREATENING TO SCORE… THEN LOSE THE DAMN FIGHT ANYWAYS

  • swhirly

    it was my birthday. we lost. sads. at least erskine didn’t die on ice….

  • Fedor

    Come on… Neuvirth put together three good games. And by good, I mean, the team lost two of them and allowed five goal in a lone win.

  • Stardawg

    If he’s doing what he’s being coached to do then why does his coach say things like, “he’s improved, he’s got a ways to go, at times he falls into his old habits. We need every guy to improve defensively and he’s no exception, he’s our go to guy so it starts with him.” When asked specifically about what Ovechkin needs to improve upon defensively Oates said, “Just a general philosophy that you’re not here just to score goals, you’re here to play and play a complete game”. Sounds to me like Oates isn’t too happy with Ovi’s defensive play, sounds like he’s echoing some of the things Milbury is saying.
    I agree that the abundance of odd-man rushes is a big problem, but every guy on the team has to contribute to help reduce them, Ovi included. Like Oates said, he’s the go to guy, he’s the CAPTAIN, it starts with him.

  • Jack Conness

    The whole Tom Wilson thing is a joke. They are trying to ruin the man’s career.

  • cherrypicker

    I agree with Milbury’s assessment of Ovechkin.

    the amount of times he coasts

    the amount of times he does “flybys” of the net rather than stopping

    the amount of times he watches his shot instead of chasing it to the net

    those are just lazy, bad habits.

    And everyone plays TEAM defence, no exceptions.

    another pet peeve…

    I HATE it when Ovi misses goal and he just stand there holding his stick parallel to the ice, head looking up to the rafters. Go follow your shot!

    If I were coach, he definitely would not be team CAPTAIN. I honestly think the team would be better with another Captain. Give Ovi an “A” and find a better team leader to wear your “C”.

    Less pressure on Ovi and a he can do his goal scoring thing and then find a new team captain to lead your team. Someone that plays hard in all zones and playing situations, not just in the offensive zone on PP and even strength.

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

    http://nyobetabeat.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/markey_mark_wtf.gif

    Best scorer in the league, one of the best scorers of all time. Couldn’t do that if he were playing behind the dots in the DZ.

  • Lawrence

    It’s flawed thinking if you believe what Milbury is saying about ovechkin. Could he back-check harder? Sure, but as James pointed out there are repercussions to that. And ill add one, Oates wants Ovi to stay near the middle of ice to give our **** defense a passing option. Ovi plays perfectly fine in his defensive zone, often in perfect position at the point.

    Many times he has had to cover the front of the net for backstrom or someone else that has missed coverage, he always hustles for those. This idea that ovechkin is bad defensively is completely false and those that listen to it don’t understand how wingers are supposed to play. Go watch some other star wingers on different teams. He is not playing center and he shouldn’t be playing like one. It’s a complete shot at his character and nitpicking at one of the best players in the world. People will find anything to bash this guy.

    Sometimes I would love to see ovechkin go to some other team (like LA, Det, Pitt, Bos) so people in Washington and analyzers like milbury can realize just how good of a player he is, on both sides of the ice. People are straight up blinded by some of the things they hear the press say. Some of the reasons hes been so criticized by outside press is because no one in this origination has stuck up for ovi in times when hes needed it, past few years when he was struggling under defensive coaches. No other team would let their star player take the abuse that hes taken. They see Washington losing and blame ovechkin because they have to put the blame on someone. That’s on the GM and coach to stick up for his players. GM has no balls and will do anything to default blame on someone else for his failure of a roster. Ov playing poorly? “Well, looks like I got another excuse for losing in the playoffs!”

    If Ovi was playing for a different orginazation, I gurentee you he wouldn’t be taking this type of criticism. Those that listen and agree to Milbury’s nonsense are expecting way too much out of ovi. He cannot lead the league in goals, assists, +/-, hart trophy, selky, etc. No player could and no player is expected to in any other organization.

  • cherrypicker

    ok.. but please connect the dots for me on this? I am not saying he is not a great goal scorer. But I don’t see these things as mutually exclusive. Sure he may not win the Richard trophy, but what good are regular season trophies? I only care about the Cup. Defence wins championships.

    I also see this from team leader perspective. I don’t want my captain to have Ovi’s bad habits. If you see your team Captain going to do the heavy lifting and dirty work, it is inspiring for the rest of the team to follow.

    I understand the winger’s role it the d zone, but he is usually already flying the zone if there is a faint whiff of a break out. Puck support and short passes. Come playoff time, those long two zone passes become scarce.

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

    Defense doesn’t win championships. That’s just something people say. The accurate statement is “A good ratio of offense to defense wins championships.”

    Ovi does that ratio superbly well– after three years of doing that ratio very poorly under coaches and systems that wanted him to play more D. He’s finally back to where he should’ve been all along. Be happy.

    What you see as bad habits, he and his teammates and his coach may see as the behaviors that make it possible to score a billion goals. Being ready for a breakout, being ready to exploit a transitioning defense, etc.

    And Alex Ovechkin is one of the best playoff producers in the modern era.

    http://hkref.com/tiny/ADFJR

    If you’re worried about winning the Cup, look elsewhere.

  • Graham Dumas

    Hunter left after last year. Forsythe is nominally the PP guy, isn’t he?

  • Rhino40

    No. Vin Diesel.

  • Myan

    I love Ovechkin and there’s no doubt that without him we’d be the Buffalo Sabres but there is some truth in what Millbury is saying…I fucking hate admitting that.

    I don’t think anybody here wants Ovi digging out pucks in our own end but if the puck gets turned over in the neutral zone, he needs to hustle back. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2v2 going the other way, he should back check and force the guys to make a good play under pressure. His tendency to circle around the neutral zone is fine but he needs to be aware of his positioning. At least one defenceman is going to track him so he needs act as a target man (ala soccer) and move in such a way that pulls the defender away from where we’re going to make the play.

    Ovechkin is a phenomenal player and it’s obvious that there isn’t a better goalscorer in the world but I have to agree that his movement & awareness off the puck could use some work.

    That being said, I hate the way Millbury frames his issues with Ovi’s game. He presents it as if to suggest that Ovechkin is an overrated player which is absolute bullshit. It’s also stupid to compare Ovi and Crosby and ask who’s better. They play different positions for heaven’s sake! They play under different systems but are both extremely good at fulfilling their respective roles on their respective teams. Millbury just has a personal hatred of Ovi probably founded of his own Canadian exceptionalism and fueled by NBC’s insistence on playing up the Ovi vs Sid rivalry.

  • Myan

    That was such a stupid fight for him to engage in. We had control of the puck in the offensive zone and we got the cycle in and he gets roped into a fight. If you’re going to fight with the game tied, at least be smart enough to engage in the fight when the puck is in your own zone or when the opponent has the puck. Don’t squander a scoring opportunity to fight a guy just because he challenged your manhood. Stupid decision.

  • cherrypicker

    I disagree… If Ovi were in other organizations and played the way he plays now, he would still take heat. Star players will and always be under the microscope.

    I also believe other coaches would not stand for some of Ovi’s nonsense and bad habits. Flying the zone “waiting” for breakout passes is not sound defensive hockey, that is pickup hockey. Puck support, short, quick passes will result in fewer turn overs. Coasting and watching your shot or pass…. beer league.

    What I do agree with, is that the failures not all on Ovi, the system which is now implemented needs more accountability across the board.

    But that said, I expect the most accountability in all areas from my Captain.

  • VeggieTart

    It’s not that; it’s that he’s a horrible fighter. I still remember Matt Bradley just pummeling him when Bradley was here and Stracks with St. Louis.

  • Rhino40

    My thoughts:

    • I had hoped we were out of the OCBA phase (Officially Can’t Beat Anyone) phase for this season. Guess not.

    • I was liking what I saw from Erat on the top line. He works so very hard and is almost as strong on the puck as Bäckis. I really, really feel bad for him, and I need to believe that, with that much hard work, the goals will come. While he is still ours. I hope.

    • No to Miller–Goaltending is NOT the root of the Caps’ troubles. An Elite, veteran keep might succeed in stealing a game for us here or there, but I’d bet you real money that even Martin Brodeur doesn’t rack up those mind-blowing career numbers unless he has all 5 guys in front of him playing stifling, boring, trap-style hockey game-in and game-out.

    I like Miller a lot, and salary cap issues notwithstanding, think it would be nice to have him wearing the Red…IF the Caps’ other needs are attended to first. But then again, I’m “Not In The Game”, so what do I know.

    • As much as I admire John Erskine as a human being, and for what he does bring to the table (no snark allowed, people) I find myself forced to agree that these are now outweighed by his relative lack of foot speed and sometimes less-than-stellar decisions with the puck.

    • Someone–why not Wilson?–needed to put a Kabong on Clutterbuck (What an absolutely Dickensian name!). Another thing I’ve noticed (in terms of How F***ed-Up The NHL Is Today) is that players who put a hard hit on an opposing player are subsequently forced to “answer the bell” (i.e., fight)–even (or perhaps especially) when that hit is a clean and legal hit.

    And yet not us, somehow.

  • cherrypicker

    So what is the “Good ratio of offence to defence that wins championships” that we should shoot for?

    Ovi’s stats individual stats are great, but will they bring a Cup to DC? And if he is not here do that, what is he doing here?

    As far as bad habits… those bad habits are not just recognized by me. I have never heard a coach yell “Coast to the puck! Coast to the puck!” or “Don’t support the puck carrier.”

    Now its true, I am not privy to conversations on the Caps bench or strategy sessions, maybe they are happy that some guys not having to be accountable in all zones. But I have a hard time believing that.

    Clearly, defensive lapses are not just Ovi fault, nor are the lapses only the goalies or defencemen’s issues. Everyone is accountable. Everyone contributes to defence. Everyone contributes to offence.

  • Myan

    LOL sorry I used your comment to unload my rant!

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

    – So what is the “Good ratio of offence to defence that wins championships” that we should shoot for?

    11:9 (55%) or better

    — Ovi’s stats individual stats are great, but will they bring a Cup to DC? And if he is not here do that, what is he doing here?

    Ovi’s stats alone won’t bring the Cup to DC. But the failure to bring a Cup to DC isn’t on Ovi. He is here to score goals. The team also needs folks to get him the puck, to stop the puck, to sharpen the skates, to drive the bus. They all have roles. Ovi does his exceptionally well– better than anyone in more than a decade.

    — As far as bad habits… those bad habits are not just recognized by me. I have never heard a coach yell “Coast to the puck! Coast to the puck!” or “Don’t support the puck carrier.”

    I’m not sure you’ve heard Bruce or Oates coach Ovi. He is absolutely told to stay high, to wait for a jailbreak, so to speak.

    — Now its true, I am not privy to conversations on the Caps bench or strategy sessions, maybe they are happy that some guys not having to be accountable in all zones. But I have a hard time believing that.

    Again, this “accountability” thing is malarkey. He’s accountable for scoring a shitload of goals, which he does. He’s not a center, he’s not a defenseman, he’s not a goalie. He’s Alex Ovechkin, a once-in-a-generation goal-scorer. Stop trying to make the cat walk on its hind legs.

    — Clearly, defensive lapses are not just Ovi fault, nor are the lapses only the goalies or defencemen’s issues. Everyone is accountable. Everyone contributes to defence. Everyone contributes to offence.

    Everyone is “accountable” (whatever the shit that means) to whatever extent their role is assigned. A goalie does not contribute to offense as much as a top-line winger who starts 60% of his shifts in the offensive zone.

  • cherrypicker

    what… your’s doesn’t?

  • cherrypicker

    yea..dammit.. i’m sucking at the webs..lol

  • Rhino40

    Yes he did, Barrett:

    On September 25, 1999, McPhee, angry at what he perceived to be dirty play by the Chicago Blackhawks, punched then Blackhawks head coach Lorne Molleken outside the Chicago locker room after their teams’ exhibition game. …

    Not to sound like a GMGM apologist, but the difference between what McPhee did and what Milbury did was that McPhee was standing up for his team in response to what the Hawks did: throwing their bodies around during the preseason in a manner more appropriate to Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final, and thus exposing both teams’ players to an unneccesary risk of serious injury. Inappropriate? Yes. But also completely understandable.

    OTOH, Milbury, in going after a fan in the stands with a shoe, was simply acting the ur-Tortorella, and demonstrating that he was, is, and always will be an All-Galaxy Delta Bravo.

  • Barrett

    I think he could be the best asset the Capitals have in a trade scenario that doesn’t include picks and prospects. Seems from all the trade rumor mills that the goalie market has dried up (except for Miller) and that it would heat up over the summer, which could be ideal to trade him if he posts good numbers despite losses.

    Holtby is a year younger and has a more favorable contract between the two so it might be best to show case Neuvirth now while using Holtby in any back-to-back scenarios and try to obtain a veteran in the off-season to backup Holtby in 2014-2015.

  • Andrew Sager

    I love RMNB but I’m so tired of the opinions on goal-tending. You NEVER give Neuvirth credit! If Holtby had an identical game, you would have mentioned him like five more times and would have put him in the title of the article. All Neuvirth gets is “a light workload.” Really? I suppose you could have been sarcastic but it sure didn’t come off that way. Furthermore, the game winning goal came through a screen of about five people and you call it a “muffin.” What? What is a muffin of a shot anyways?
    :/ Neuvirth needs some respect.

  • Cooper

    Just wait until the Olympics, Ovechkin is going to dominate and come back to the caps with more energy and fight then ever, and if evgeni comes over to play for us look for a playoff run. The defense is all that’s holding us back

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

    I called him “pretty great” and talked up that excellent save that we dedicated a separate post too.

    I, deliberately, rarely mention goalies in recaps unless there’s something narratively important — i.e. making the first start in a while.

    Muffin is a reference to how John Erskine describes shots: http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2013/01/27/muffins-are-greater-than-cannons-john-erskine-scores-his-first-goal-since-may-2011/

  • Stardawg

    So then why does Oates say Ovechkin is “NOT JUST HERE TO SCORE GOALS”???????????????
    I absolutely cannot believe how flawed your argument is.

  • Eric Schulz

    If he used energy defensively, then he would not have that energy to use in scoring 100 goals; energy isn’t an infinite resource, it will dip as you use it before you need rest. And that clip they showed of Ovie “coasting?” The Islanders’ defense was RETREATING. You seriously expect him to waste energy chasing them only to be beat (because he would be beat, because it would’ve been him fore-checking 3 players), thus wasting energy AND letting the Islanders get the puck behind him? If you say he coasts too much, then show a clip of him coasting WHEN HE SHOULD BE, then you demonstrate that you don’t grasp the difference between “saving energy to use more productively when it matters” and “coasting.” Are there times when he could be better? Yes, he’s not a perfect player. NOBODY IS; so why is Ovie, the most dominating player in the game, constantly criticized for not being a better player when so many other players are lauded for their scoring? Why is it that Ovie is expected to be the team’s best defender, when we have guys who play a position LITERALLY labeled “defense?” Why is it that Ovie is the one you point to when talking about the Caps’ inability to win the Cup? If we had 17 other guys like Ovie, we’d have 3 Cup wins by now, easily; he’s done more than anybody else in the playoffs since he entered the league (on a per game basis) to help the Caps win the Cup. The problem is so many other things first. When the Kings failed to win the Cup, did you hear people criticizing Gretzky for his inability to prevent odd man rushes? Was it because Gretzky needed to play better defense? How often have you heard Patrick Kane ripped for his lackadaisical defense? How about Phil Kessel? Name ONE winger who gets a lot of shit for his defense, save Ovie. It’s about expectation; Ovie, for some reason, is expected to be the best player in the league on defense as well as offense, apparently, and is criticized for failing to live up to that. Nobody else has to deal with that, and it doesn’t reflect well on the analysts who point to Ovie when discussing the Caps problems this year, or in recent years. He’s still the most dominating player in the league, and were it not for him, we are in competition for the 1st overall pick.

  • Eric Schulz

    You are wrong. Jason Doig crushed people.

  • Eric Schulz

    He already did; we have Erat.

  • Eric Schulz

    Except Buffalo would decline Laich and Erat.

  • Andrew Sager

    Hmph, good points. I still hold by the fact that you guys like Holtby more :P.

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

    Then why does Oates, an NHL Hall of Famer, say that Ovechkin needs to improve his defensive play?

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

    This is getting pretty tiresome, dude. We get it. You prefer adjectives over numbers and quotes over actions.

  • Stardawg

    Then answer the question. You say he’s being coached to stay high in the DZ to break out, this is true, i agree with this use of his skills, but theres a caveat…when the team gets pinned in their own zone for an extended period of time, the philosophy changes from trying to get the puck and score (where Ovi needs to be high), to just get the puck out of the zone and change lines. Ovi then needs to help out the D and get the puck out, this is where a lot of criticism against him stems from.
    The other area where his criticism arises from is defensive play outside the DZ. As soon as the other team possesses the puck you are on defence. When Ovi loses the puck on an offensive rush he doesn’t instantly switch to defence, he often makes big circles away from the puck, taking himself out of the play and creating odd man rushes. When people see this they criticize him. He often doesn’t hustle to get back in the play, again fuel for critics.
    These are basic mistakes that get players of less ilk sent to the minors. That is why so many people get upset when they see him doing it. You can say he’s supposed to do this to save energy, fine. Don’t shoot down criticism that is based on sound defensive play, criticism he is getting from his own coach.

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

    I can’t tell what the question is anymore. Yes, I agree that the world’s greatest scorer should be sent to the minors. Congratulations on winning the argument.

  • http://bartsbarometer.com/ Bart Breen

    Mike Milbury is a hasbeen who couldn’t carry Ovi’s jock and is 1 good bran muffin and a cup of coffee away from a soft dump up the ice.

    I turn off the sound and turn on the radio whenever I have to watch the Caps play on NBC and Milbury is occupying his broadcast stall ….

  • Eric Schulz

    Why does Oates play Erskine? Why does Oates bury Wilson? Why does Oates give top minutes to Laich and/or Brouwer? I have no idea what Oates is up to, and frankly, I take comfort in that.

  • Stardawg

    Oates probably plays Erskine because he’s desperate for a veteran D-man. Granted, Erskine’s not gonna win the Norris, but he’s been better in the past than this season. For some reason he just doesn’t seem as tough this year. Same goes for Laich and Brouwer, Caps need them to play the way they are capable of playing.
    With Wilson, I agree, I think he should be given more ice time. Seems pointless to keep him with the big club and give him 5-7 minutes a night.
    I just can’t understand why people get so upset when its pointed out that Ovi’s defensive play could improve. Most critics aren’t saying he sucks, or that he’s not one of the greatest scorers ever, I for one would put the LEAST amount of blame on Ovi for the teams struggles. I would start with GMGM, why are we so short on stay at home D-men? I also think Oates has a real problem getting the team ready to play, so to speak.
    The bottom line is Ovi is the Captain, and a superstar, the spotlight or OvechKam is always on him. Its unfair that he gets so widely criticized, but the criticism is often warranted. I would compare it to Tiger Woods. Almost every shot Tiger takes is televised, therefore he is much more likely to get called out by a viewer for a rules violation than most other players. Not fair, but it comes with the territory.

  • Stardawg

    I’m asking a serious question. You state that Ovechkin is playing the way he’s being coached to play. You state that his ratio of offence to defence is right where it needs to be and shouldn’t be criticized.
    My confusion stems from the fact that Oates says Ovechkin needs to improve his defensive play. This directly contradicts your statements. I’ve been asking for clarification without being rude, condescending, using profanity, or ignoring valid points made by other commenters.
    I just don’t understand why so many writers, coaches, players, fans and commentators criticize Ovechkin and all of this gets totally dismissed in DC.
    So, for clarification this is my question I would like you to answer: “If Ovechkin is playing the way he is being coached to play, and his defensive play is non-criticizable, then why does his own coach contradict these statements and say that Ovechkin needs to improve his defensive play?”

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

    “You state that his ratio of offence to defence is right where it needs to be and shouldn’t be criticized.”

    No, dude. First of all, you’re not entitled to a discussion. Second, If you wanna have a discussion, you gotta be fair. I never said he shouldn’t be criticized. I don’t know where you got that from, but that’s dishonest.

    And no, your quote doesn’t “directly contradict” my statements. I’d like Ovi to be better defensively, but I want you to realize that more defensive assignments and skating deeper in the DZ will mean fewer goals.

    Using actual evidence rather than just semi-apocryphal quotes, Oates starts Ovechkin in the offensive zone more than any other player. Oates doesn’t play Ovechkin on the penalty kill at all (anymore). Those are actions, better than words, that show Oates wants Ovi playing MORE offense and LESS defense.

    if you want to see him playing that little defense better, great! Me too. If you want to see him become a “two-way forward” then you’re missing the point.

    And if you’re making this out to be me saying Ovi is infallible, you’re just wrong. All I’m saying the conversation should be substantial, nuanced, and not personality-driven.

  • Stardawg

    Excellent, thank you, now it is much more clear. I agree with you completely now, and understand that I always have. I think its rude and unfair of you to state that I am not entitled to a discussion. I tried to start a discussion with anyone who cared about why people get so upset when Milbury, or anyone else, criticizes Ovechkins defensive play. I have always stated that Ovi is great. I have even stated that if he continues to play the way he does I am happy with that. However, it is obvious to me that he has a couple bad habits, namely big circles after losing the puck and not back-checking hard. I don’t really buy the ‘conserving energy’ argument but I can understand the logic of it. I honestly believe that Ovi could improve these aspects of his game without it hurting his offence, in fact it could possibly improve it, via more possessions. Oates echoed this in a press conference, but I guess thats a semi-apocryphal quote since its here: http://www.monumentalnetwork.com/videos/adam-oates-pregame-1-31-14
    I also think that being a 2-way forward does not mean you have to be equally O and D. Like you said, there is a ratio. Obviously Ovi’s should be hugely slanted towards O, but there is room for improvement on the D side.
    So when Milbury et al. criticize Ovi for this it doesn’t seem like something people should get so upset about.

    Your quote, about Ovi’s perceived floating, “This conclusion is shitty, and its repetition by Milbury and his ilk is evidence of hackitude and shitastery.”

    Your quote, about his ratio of O to D, “What you percieve as bad habits, he and his teammates and his coach may see as behaviours that make it possible to score a billion goals.”

    I have asked you directly do you think he should not be criticized and you didn’t respond, so based on your quotes I made the inference that you think he should not be criticized. Sorry if this offended you, but I feel I am making some rational statements and looking for reasonable responses. You are making a pretty big inference yourself by stating his teammates and coach may approve of his play, this contradicts what Oates says.
    If you shoot down rational arguments I’m going to believe that you think he’s infallible. You are entitled to disagree all you want, but I don’t think you’re being fair to critics of Ovi’s defensive play.
    You changed that with this response so I again thank you.

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

    “Sorry if this offended you”

    Red flag for assholery.

    http://images.luvimages.com/luvphotos/g/good_day_sir_gif-393.jpg

  • Stardawg

    Wow, you’ve got some serious anger management issues, Dude. I’d also like to point out that tons of kids like/love Ovechkin. Your blog is focussed on Ovechkin and Russian Caps, so the chance of them coming to this blog are high. As a moderator maybe show some class and lay off the swearing.

  • Eric Schulz

    “Most critics aren’t saying he sucks,” um… seems like they are. They don’t say stuff like “he’s a great goal-scorer, and the most dominant player in the game, but he could be so much better if he worked at defense as well” (which, again, is debatable; he COULD be better at defense, of course, but I don’t know how much his offense would suffer), they (Milbury, McSorley, and JR) are saying he doesn’t try, doesn’t know where he is or what he’s doing, doesn’t care, and is a product of hype. He’s the most dominant player in the game, and they talk about him like he’s a 3rd liner, at best. I can’t recall a time I’ve heard somebody paid for their hockey opinion comment on Ovie’s defense without insulting him as a player and leader.

  • Eric Schulz

    Also, I like both Laich and Brouwer, and think they are better players than they have been this season, but when you play as badly as they have, you shouldn’t continue to get top-6 minutes. And Erskine… yeah, Oates wants veterans, but I’d rather have a young guy than a horrible, horrible veteran. I liked him not that long ago (two years ago, I think he was solid), but he’s not good, and shouldn’t be playing anymore.

  • Stardawg

    I’m glad you mentioned McSorley and JR, because I think I get it now. The main question I’ve been asking is ‘why do people get so upset when Ovi gets criticized?’.
    I’m thinking it might have a lot to do with the media in DC giving air time and commentary to stuff guys like McSorley and JR say.
    I’m from Canada so there is an abundance of hockey coverage here. McSorley is on SportsNet, which I don’t watch because they have guys like McSorley on. McSorleys comments were disregarded by almost everyone, but got a lot of air play. Its a way to get your name and voice heard. Say something controversial, or in his case, stupid. Even the two other guys on the panel with him looked like they thought he was crazy.
    I’m not even gonna say anything about JR because he does a pretty good job of making people realize he’s an idiot all on his own.
    Most of the coverage I see up here, HNIC (although they have Healey who can say some questionable stuff), and TSN cover Ovi with praise. They often point out the same mistakes he makes, but never talk like he’s a 3rd liner or are insulting or disrespectful. They always talk about him as one of the greatest scorers ever, way more discussion about how to stop him than how bad his D is.
    Sure, there are lots of guys that say stupid stuff, but in my opinion they are trying to be heard, not making rational commentary. McSorley’s comments were almost immediately dismissed up here but probably got more play in DC because its controversial, it gets people talking, makes good headlines.
    “Ovechkin all hype” is gonna make people read an article, especially in DC
    I’ve been a Caps fan since they got Langway and until Ovechkin came along, nobody even talked about the Caps in Canada. Now the Caps and every move Ovi makes get covered up here. The majority of stuff I hear about Ovi doesnt insult him as a player and leader. Usually I don’t get the NBC feed for Caps games, or if I do, the TSN panel does the between periods analysis, so I am spared the Milbury, JR analysis.
    So I think I kinda get it now.

  • Stardawg

    I sure hope Laich isn’t done. The Caps really need him to get back to where he was. Brouwer has shown some life lately and a couple goals the other night sure helps.
    It’s definitely getting to the point where we have to give up on Erskine.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah, it’s about HOW you frame your argument. I have not heard anybody really talk about it in an intelligent way, honestly (a few articles have been pointed out on this site, but in response to a dumb one, like the Sporting News article about why Ovie shouldn’t score so much if he wants playoff success). If you’ve heard some legitimate arguments about it, then okay; I agree, I’d love for him to add some defense without losing any offense, that’d be great. But I haven’t heard any analysts saying anything like that without being stupid. Doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened… but without hearing it, I can’t respond to them, only the idiots ripping Ovie for sucking.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah… I was hoping Brouwer was really coming into his own last year: on pace for 33-22–55, something like that, and power forwards typically take longer to develop… looks like he’s not that guy, unfortunately, but as I said, he’s not this guy either. I guess he’s about a 20-20–40 guy… oh well.
    I’m not sure how much we really need Laich anymore, honestly. I feel like he would’ve filled a very Jarrett Stoll-type role for us if we expected to be contenders (overqualified 3rd line center, two-way player), but I think Johansson could kind of do that, with a future lineup that looks something like:
    Kuznetsov – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Burakovsky – Grabovski – Wilson
    Fehr – Johansson – Brouwer/Ward
    Chimera – Latta – Beagle
    I’d expect to keep Brouwer over Ward, but probably only one, and if we don’t keep Grabovski… maybe we move Fehr up to top line, Kuznetsov is 2nd line C, and we can find a 3rd line winger fairly easily…
    That being said, I WANT Laich to return to form; I like the dude. If he doesn’t, we could buy him out and be okay, I just really hope we don’t have to. Maybe we can renegotiate his contract down a bit so that he doesn’t need to be bought out, and free up some cap space that way, buying him some time to recover.