Gregory Shamus

Photo: Gregory Shamus

It was right around this time last year the Washington Capitals kicked off a hot streak that lofted them to the postseason. Losing twice in as many days to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Caps don’t look like liable to do that again.

The Penguins aren’t a great team. They’re way top-heavy on offense and somewhat disadvantaged on defense, but they’re still way way better than the Caps– both in composition and execution.

Evgeni Malkin sort of owned an offensive-zone shift against Orlov and the top line, releasing an actual perimeter shot that Jussi Jokinen delected in. That was all the goal-scoring we got until Crosby beat Orlov, Carrick, and Halak to make it 2-0 with five minutes left. The Caps mounted a little comeback attempt, but forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.

Shutout.

Pens beat Caps 2-0.

  • The first period went mercifully quickly. I counted almost 14 minutes without a stoppage, which put me in a trance-like, robotripping-while-watching-David-Lynch-movies kinda state. The action was “end-to-end” so long as one of those ends was the Pittsburgh blue line. The Penguins doubled up the Pens in shot attempts in the first.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov had an excruciating chance in the second period. The puck went off the post– and then probably Marc Andre Fleury’s skate blade on its way to not-inside-the net. Another flashy game by the new guy.
  • The Capitals got their assess thoroughly kicked on the faceoff dot, which is kind of what you expect when you’ve got Eric Fehr pretending he’s not a winger.
  • Adam Oates started Jaroslav Halak in net despite having zero-days rest. Strategery or no, Halak was lovely again– especially on a third-period save on Sidney Crosby. Yet, however good Halak is, I doubt he’s better without rest than a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed Braden Holtby. I’m gonna anticipate a comment: Holtby stinks (.874 save percentage) against the Penguins. I don’t really care. 119 shots makes that much more trivia than prophecy. I’d rather see a balanced tandem of rested goalies than gambling on a hot hand.
  • Speaking of gambling, I kinda enjoyed the decisions made by the random-number generator picking the lines and pairings in the second period. We had unmitigated chaos for a while, which I think is preferable to the disheartening tedium we’ve seen since December.
  • Jay Beagle looked good in an over-sized role as second-line center. Ian said he played like a junkyard dog, and I’m not sure he intended the irony.
  • Kuznetsov drew a huge penalty midway through the third– deftly attracting Matt Niskanen‘s stick towards his babyface. Another noob, Olli Maatta, tricked the refs into neutralizing the power play a minute in with a real soft call on Nick Backstrom. That power play could’ve been very important. I guess it ended up important in its own way, but that way is not a good way.
  • Go ahead and trash Mike Green all you want below, but he was in the Pens zone twice as much as they were in his. Yes, he’s not what he used to be, but who is? I’m sure not. I used to be funny and giddy and hyperbolic in these recaps. Now I feel like the Great Gildersleeve.
  • Turnovers, odd-man breaks, dumps and chases, dropped assignments, broken passes. I don’t know what the heck is going on. At one point I was thinking, “a fight would be nice right now.” That’s how jammed up I am.
  • Shutout for Flower. It burns.

I gotta be honest. This is kicking my ass. I’m dispirited by this team. Writing these recaps is getting harder and harder.

Most of my favorite players still wear that uniform, but what they’re playing now looks nothing like the game they were built for. And there’s a contingent of strangers and stragglers filling out the ranks that are desperately out of their depth. There’s a mountain of mistakes that this team seems determined to climb all over again. Like some bizarro alternate ending to The Sound of Music.

I think there’s another game later this week. Probably against a hockey team. I’ll be here, writing about it. I guess.

  • Jack Conness

    I am sorry RMNB readers, Ian, Peter, and other contributors but I must rant after tonight. After losing a game we owned for the majority of the game last night and now just be dominated for most of the game tonight, is infuriating. Especially dropping both of these games to Sidney Crosby and the hated Pittsburgh Penguins. I am just boiling on the inside.

    I am sick of this Adam Oates’ coached team. I hate the dump n’ chase. I hate different line combinations every other shift. I hate seeing Tom Wilson’s talent being wasted. I am scared Kuznetsov’s talent may be wasted too. I hate seeing Dustin Penner turn into Marty Erat 2.0. I hate seeing Mike Green, Dmitri Orlov, and Connor Carrick continue to make awful decisions in their own zone, get burned, or have ugly turnovers. I hate seeing this team rely SOLEY on their PP and not doing a damn thing 5-on-5. I hate seeing sloppy passing. I hate losing every faceoff. You think under Adam Oates they could win faceoffs and pass a little better? I hate losing to the Penguins. Seven straight times. Under Adam Oates. I hate seeing Halak play awesome these past two games and have nothing to show for it. On a side note, I am sick of the extremely overrated MoJo. I hate seeing this team like this.

    There are gaping holes on this team. They can’t be fixed now. Some nights they have one decent line playing. But only if that line isn’t changed around after a period. They never seem to have their defensemen all click at once. Kuzya played an awesome end of the 2nd, whole 3rd period. Drawing the only penalty and putting some awesome chances on net.

    I know some of you readers were on me after I was being Negative Nancy after their win in Boston a couple of weeks ago. Everyone was so high on this team for some reason. Understandable, but it was only one game. I am sorry. This is the 2013-2014 Washington Capitals. They aren’t that good. I think they could be but they are poorly coached. Untimely injuries to Grabo and Laich certainly don’t help, especially Grabo. I wish things were different. But I am a realist. They aren’t. Best of luck to this team. They really need it.

    P.S. Thank you RMNB for giving us all a place to rant.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I’m done.

  • Rob W.

    This team is pretty much bad at everything, the 5v5 is an absolute nightmare. playing the Pens always puts it into perspective how far away this team is from challlenging for the cup and the coaching is about at least %50 of the problem.

    http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view3/1290449/picard-facepalm-o.gif

  • Chris Cerullo

    Agreed on literally everything. Kuznetsov just outplayed Johansson in literally his 2nd NHL game.

  • Lance

    Feel like smashing my head against a wall watching the Caps play. For the love of god send down Carrick already! Like come one! So frustrating!

  • fuckthisteam

    Keep losing, fire management, hope to bump in the draft.

    That is what I was saying last season at this point, should have done it then.

  • Red

    To a casual observer that might have looked like a close game, maybe even a winnable game. To a dedicated fan, that was a devastating demonstration of two hockey clubs moving in opposite directions. The Pens looked tight, crisp, efficient, and in complete control. This is what a cup contender looks like. The Caps, however, have regressed, over the course of the last 4 years, from having the cup within their grasp, to a point of complete inanity.

    Not a single time over the course of the entire game did I think “that was a perfect play” or even “that went exactly as intended”. Everything the Caps do feels haphazard. The handful of successful plays we had were a direct result of individual effort. At no point did I see anything resembling teamwork.

    Good players get goals. Good teams get wins. Good systems get championships. We’re back at square one. Pretty depressing.

  • Rob W.

    Tonight is the night i can finally say i am sick of Oates as well. Its just ridiculous how expects guys to build chemistry when they play with each other for 5 minutes

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

    Can someone explain to me why Oates thought putting Penner, Beagle, and Brouwer together before the game was a good idea? THEY ARE ALL LITERALLY THE SAME PLAYER AT EVEN STRENGTH. Which one of those two guys is going to pass the puck to The Giant Pancake standing in front of the net? Oh wait, all three of the guys are going to converge in the crease, look at each other confused, and then watch the puck get skated towards their zone.

  • Justin

    Don’t lose the faith. We have to be honest to ourselves, the way our team and hockey system is currently constructed, we cannot compete with the vast majority of teams in the NHL right now. It sucks because we have one of the most prolific and exciting offensive players in the game at the moment, and we still cannot build a team around him. Teams like St. Louis, Anaheim, Chicago, etc… those teams are built down to the 4th lines, with a sound defensive system that plays to their personnel’s strengths. We’re not there right now and haven’t been heading that direction for a long time.

    What we have is hope. We have future prospects and maturing players on favorable contracts. But in order for new life, this team has to pass through the fire. Changes have to be made in management along with our players, and it will only happen if we don’t limp into the playoffs. Let’s stop kidding ourselves into thinking we have a shot at the cup this year. I love this team, but I don’t love where they are right now.

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    So frustrating watching this team. Bet you anything we’ll make Lack/Bernier or Reimer look like an All star goalie these next two games.

  • Jack Conness

    Not much of what Oates does makes sense.

  • Justin

    We’re putting an inferior product out on the ice. Changes must be made.

  • Alex Hughes

    This team sucks right now. They are playing the worst hockey they have played the whole season at a terrible time. I didn’t like that Halak started tonight even though he had a great game. This the the Gruby thing all over again if it keeps up, you got to give Holtby his starts. I thought Dmitry Orlov had a dreadful game, turning over the puck on the first two goals and basically turned the puck over all night. I actually thought Tom Wilson actually had a decent game, because he got more ice time than usual and he played with Fehr and Chimmer.

  • Rob W.

    the fact that beagle started as 2nd line C when Latta is in Hershey is a joke

  • Justin

    Just like Gretzky… great player, not so great coach.

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Backstrom, I know you’re a PP specialist, I would love for you to take some slapshots instead of finding ways to set up Brouwer/Ward/Ovie. Look at how that turned out for Crosby yesterday. You were a 30 goal scorer in 2010. Ughhh i miss when we were good in 2010. Like I said before. Halak and Roloson traumatized this team.

  • Alex Hughes

    These line combos were terrible, does Oates pick them blindfolded, or does he use a magic 8 ball to pick them.

  • Myan

    Hit the buyout button on Laich or Green and I’m right there with you. We need to find a way to shed the overpaid and underpaid but more importantly, we need better leadership from the management of this organization.

  • 70Caps

    I’ve had faith in Carrick the whole time until tonight. He was atrocious in his own zone. So was orlov. I thought hillen had a pretty good game, and yeah, green did offensively.
    Nbc was Nbc. Literally 15 seconds after one announcer said Maata sold the call, the whole crew started praising him and what a great season he’s having. I’m not even going to mention Crosby or Malkin.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I hate, absolutely hate the whole tank for the draft thing. This year though, count me in. For the draft and hopefully the firing of McPhee+Oates.

  • Jimmie

    I don’t even know what can be done to fix this team. I’ve lost faith that Mike Green can play at anything approaching an elite level again and worse, that the coaching staff leaves him to get blasted by crushing checks over and over again without a capable partner to take the heat off him. Tonight’s second line looked utterly lost a good part of the time. We’re apparently down to one functional center. Heck, I’m even beginning to think it might not be entirely crazy to buy out Brooksie’s contract after the season, since he can’t stay healthy long enough to make a difference.

    What the heck happens in the off-season? Do we resign Grabo? I sure as heck hope so but…what then? Penner too? Go shopping? But for what? Can we sign 4 defensemen? Can any defenseman play competently in whatever the heck we’re calling a system right now?

    My God. I feel like an Islanders fan, and no man should ever feel like that!!

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

    I ain’t talking anyone off the ledge tonight. This is so miserable. Adam Oates is either unwilling or incapable to make changes. I’ll give him all the credit in the world for the radical move of putting Ovi closer to the net during the PP and put him on a different side of the ice during 5v5, but that’s it.

    Defensive coverage, break outs, dump-ins, line-ups, healthy scratches, running good players out of town, quick-response goals, giving up two-goal leads. And the beat goes on.

    It’s an unceasing diminishing of a team that used to be fun.

  • Bob Costas

    sick of hearing how green and orlov (carrick doesn’t have numbers but still) have these stats that discredit any blame or trash talking that they deserve. A bunch of offensive numbers for a DEFENSEMEN mean nothing if they can’t prove anything in their own end. Disgusted to see Orlov make the same mistake at least 3 teams, one costing us a goal. Should start pointing fingers at the coaching staff now. Its hard to stay afloat when you got these three jabroni’s forgetting how to play D.

  • Jimmie

    It is possible that Oates knows how to coach an elite scorer but no one else?

  • MuzzMuzzington

    I’m done with Oates. He is clueless. He can’t see what is wrong with this team from his high horse about protecting and respecting the league.

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

    I don’t think he knows how to coach Ovi either. The PP is nice, but everything we’ve heard from the players tell us his resurgence during even strength was organic, not coach-led.

  • Alex Hughes

    I’m tired of Connor Carrick, Jesus Christ he is awful and just not ready. Why are we are playing him over Oleksy, Schmidt, Wey, Brouilette, and Kundratek? Anyone would be better than him right now

  • yv

    Now it is what, 0-22-1 when scoring less than 2 goals? Is this the system or what? And can we invite Bruce Boudreau, at-least, before the games with Pens? As I recalling he hated to lose to Pens after that game 7 in playoffs, so Caps had something like 13-0-1 record against them after, compare this to 0-8 with AO.

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

    oh Jean Luc

  • Jimmie

    What the heck happened to Kundratek? He didn’t play horribly when I saw him with the Caps, but then…nothing. Just gone.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Playoff chances now at 6.1% and we still have some of the best teams in the league to play. I hope the game we get eliminated is against Bruce’s Ducks

  • Danielle

    I love the capitals and after the past couple years of watching them clinch at the end of the season last minute, I hadn’t given up completely on them yet and still had some hope inside of me. But after tonight, I don’t think I have found one good reason to keep believing in them. Summer break is coming early this season :(

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

    That’s frightening. Maybe the team has to change coaches again. Heck, I don’t know.

  • Heidi

    Torn ACL I believe

  • yv

    less than 3.

  • Matt

    Mike Greene forgot to replace the rest of his estrogen supplements with testosterone. Time to move him from defense listing to the forth line as a forward. Defense is also a team concept and there was at one point a glimmer of that happening, but not so sure that is as bad as the inability to push through the neutral zone. Much less our own end when pressured. Time to dump the “dump and chance” game plan and actually drive the puck into the zone.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Maybe? Absolutely.

  • JenniferH

    Wake me up when Adam Oates is gone. Maybe then we’ll finally have an actual effectively coached hockey team again instead of a bunch of professional athletes* on the ice some of whom should be playing their best hockey right now. Dispiriting is a good word for what we’re watching right now.

    * and semi-professional

  • Jimmie

    Strange as it sounds, that’s better for him than being in Oates’ Inexplicable Doghouse.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    6% chance of making the playoffs. We aren’t making it. Maybe we win against the Canucks, but 72 points won’t make it.

  • Alex Hughes

    Fire all the coaches, they don’t know what they are doing. Oates hasn’t done anything besides “save” Ovi and give the PP more ways to score. Calle has a terrible defense and he his system is to give the team all they ice they want up until the top of the circles and then do something about it, and Blaine Forsyte just wears checker patterned ties and stands there. What does he do????? It’s time to do something radical, cuz nothing else is working

  • Rob W.

    If GMGM hired guys based on their proven record and not because they used to play for the Caps, i think we wouldd be in a better situation

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

    I agree Latta should be up with the Capitals. But it isn’t even Beagle that’s the problem there. None of those three forwards complement each other – why even put them together? As soon as Oates promoted Ward and Kuznetsov to scoring lines, it should not surprise anyone that things immediately changed. Are we trying to win or are we trying to protect young players? Kuznetsov and Wilson aren’t babies.

  • Andrew Pang

    As long as everyone is sick, let me join the party. I am sick of MJ90. As sick as I was with Jeff Schultz. How many more times can he lose the puck under marginal pressure or pass to the opposition? His offense does not come close to negating his ability to stop a rush in its tracks. On to Carrick – I have tried to hold my criticism, but Jesus Christ, can we move on already? Is he seriously better than Oleksy? Someone in Hershey enlighten me – has Steve done something to warrant keeping him down on the farm?

  • Heidi

    Looks like we only have to watch 15 more games this season, so that’s a small silver lining. Other than that there are really no positives at this point in the season…who cares about a team that can play a good game once a week. Without a consistently motivated and well-coached team, you’re going nowhere

  • Rob W.

    being a star wars guy it was tough using it but then again i just sat through 60 minutes of torture

  • Daniel Walker

    Adam Oates sucks at coaching. GMGM sucks at everything. CalleJ did not suck at defense but he does suck at teaching other people about defense. Ovie sucks at being a complete player. Ted, please change everything or I am going to have to start mentioning you when I am complaining about Angelose and Snyder. I dont want that, but were headed that way.

  • OviandOil

    Really sick of this. I’m a true fan and will stick through this, but man does it sting. Oates has no idea how to create a line either. Mojo never shoots, Orlov consistently turns it over as does green yet they are paired together. The powerplay is the only way we score. We only win when we score more than 2 goals. George Mcphee has infuriated me in the past, but after watching him not adress defense at the deadline, i’m done with him.

  • Jimmie

    AND ANOTHER THING!

    I keep hearing that Adam Oates is a great communicator, but haven’t a bunch of our problems come from his complete lack of communication with players and fans? Erat and Neuvirth get doghoused for reasons no one can adequately explain. Guys get pushed down lines with barely a squeak from the coach. Halak gets back to back starts over the established starter, the guy GMGM sad he had confidence in. Heck, the whole HydraGoalie debacle from earlier in the year went pretty much unexplained to anyone. We have no idea what sort of identity Oates wants the team to have because he won’t apparently tell anyone.

    When will the great communicator actually communicate effectively?

  • John Atchison

    Well put and well written article. I liked Adam Oates, but its clear that his system does not work with this squad. But I also do not want GMGM hiring another coach. It is time the Caps hire an established coach with previous experience. I get the feeling George has hired guys that were minor leaguers and someone’s asst coach. I’d like to see Ron Hextall brought in to GM and let him take a crack at the roster. No one on this team should be safe. There are far too many soft players who think shoot first. The guys that do shoot hardly get the puck on net. Yes that is summer coming, and it should also be a long awaited end to the failure of the Mcphee era

  • Eric Schulz

    I think we have too FEW guys who think shoot first.

  • Heidi

    fun fact (if you don’t already know): patrick stewart ate his first slice of pizza last may.

  • gustafsson16

    Not even sure what to say after this one. Team looked totally uninterested for half the game. How do we come out flat against the Penguins? Easy to put blame on Orlov for the 2 goals but my opinions: 1) first goal Orlov (and the entire team) get single-handedly outworked by Malkin who (it pains me to type this) is arguably one of the top 5 players in the league (even after the turnover, I liked how 4 Caps watched Jokinen skate in and redirect the shot). 2) second goal off a 2-on-1 from a lost pinch/board battle…our offense is so freaking bad of course our young offensively minded defenseman is going to feel compeled to take a sizeable risk to hold the puck in considering we’ve generated diddly for offense with just over 5 mins to go. Gambled, failed…I wont fault that.
    The line combinations up top are ridiculous and puzzling. This was a 1-0 game for the vast majority. People, if we cant score, its not on the defense. Love Ovechkin, love what he’s done for the organization and hockey in this area, but the guy is little more than a desginated hitter now. He doesnt drive 5v5 play at all – when was the last time he did a rush into the zone and actually beat the defender? The only thing thats kept us even within a sniff of the playoffs is the power play, and top teams are disciplined enough to not take stupid penalties and feed our only strength.

  • Harjot Singh

    The thing that annoys me the most about this year is we are unpredictable. Some nights you don’t. One night you will see a team who looks hungry and wants a playoff spot other nights the caps are that guy who shows up to work with his tie undone and his shirt untucked. So much inconsistency. There just a big tease.

  • Lawrence

    Pros:
    1) Kuz looked a lot better tonight.
    2) Ovi seemed to find chemistry with Beagle for some reason and played better at even strength
    3) Ward and Chim.
    4) Halak played really well and if holtby was in net we would have lost by a couple more.

    Cons:
    1) Orlov’s mistakes need to send him to the pressbox, he is so garbage defensively that he makes Green look decent. Sadly we have no depth to even think about doing that.
    2) Green is getting worse and worse, unless we get another defensive defensman to pair with him, he will only continue to get worse.
    3) We again, played well, but didn’t get points which means everything.

    4) This team is about as deep as a hill.
    5) Our team continues to be terrible at even strength.
    6) We are only a few losses away from total collapse and rebuild mode (which might be a “pro” at this point).

  • Alex Hughes

    I’m still not giving up on this team, as crazy as that sounds. Hate how they’re playing right now but I still think they will somehow turn it around.

  • Heidi

    I would strongly disagree with con #3…by no means did the Caps play well tonight.

  • Jimmie

    I will say this, though, that Ward/Fehr/Chimera line does work its tail off. I don’t know what the fancystats say, but it seems more often than not when something good has happened at evens lately, they’ve been on the ice.

  • Rob W.

    If we knew anything about the game we would be in it, just ask GMGM

  • Michael Austin

    I will now sum up the Capitals fatal issues

    - young incompetent bottom 3 dman
    - too much confidence in middle 6 fwds (overestimation of depth)
    - we created erat 2.0 out of penner
    - ovi is expected to single handedly win every game
    - killer injuries at key times
    - we have 2 centerman
    - hershey is not heaven
    - our lines change every 5 minuits
    - filip forsberg
    - anton gustaffson
    - we dont know when to sell players
    - Wilson is being ruined
    - Our best goalie in in the minors
    - Connor Carrick is a lost puppy
    - we have 7 third liners – 21, 42, 43, 17, 20, 25, 16
    - cap is top heavy

    GOD DAMMIT MAKE ME GM

  • MuzzMuzzington

    I was done with him for a while but sat back and waited for him to do something. Honestly hope we lose out and he gets fired. Can take GMGM with him. This whole Lefties play left side, righties play right side is the dumbest, most asinine handcuff to your line up. Why don’t any other established coaches do this? Because it is freaking dumb and doesn’t work.

    These lines are awfully done. This system is atrocious. NOBODY else has broken out under him that Ovi, but that was him coming out of his own slump apparently. He is the stereotypical great players don’t make great coaches.

  • Tommy Milner

    Something popped in my head after Kuzya’s first game and some comments about being lost out there from players/coaches/Kuzya.

    Maybe he’s lost because the system that Oates coaches, which clearly is good for about one thing, letting Ovi shoot a lot, doesn’t work. I get that playing on big ice is different than the small ice but if these players that don’t live and breathe Oates hockey for a while have to completely change how they play and those who have are still struggling to generate any offense, maybe Oates hockey sucks.

    This team has looked helpless more than not this year. There’s no lockout to blame. Our top players can hardly score even strength.

    I miss Boudreau.

  • OviandOil

    i don’t think the caps need a rebuild, they need to retool, they got guys like nicky and ovi in their prime, they got young prospects already in the lineup and we have burakovsky,barber, bowey coming up. we gotta build our defense and second line to be a conetender. Alzner and Carlson are the only defensemen I would keep, would go after better ones by ufa and/or trades

  • John Atchison

    I messed up..that should have said pass first…good catch

  • Rob W.

    buyout Brooks and we can have some money to sign some decent guys if we have a decent GM

  • alchemistmuffin

    I just cannot trust Oates anymore. Was there a high hope after last year? Absolutely. But after watching this game, and this team all year, I’m ready to throw in the towel. If they can buy out his contract, then it’s time. He is absolutely clueless. The only thing he’s done is revitalize Ovi. Everything else, he’s just making it worse and worse every game.

    If Oates stays with Caps longer, I can guarantee that Kuzy will eventually ask for a trade. Along with Penner. Right now, all he is doing is letting it go straight to waste. Period.

    (PS: At least this isn’t my Canucks, my other favorite team. They are the worst team in NHL right now. I have never seen a coach just let this amount of talent go straight to waste)

  • Jason W.

    Defend Mike Green all you want, but for a guy who makes an absurd $6 million a year, he has to be better than he is. He is getting burned on what seems to be a nightly basis these days. Personally, I believe come summer it’s time to part ways with him in some way or form.

    The only bright side of this season is that we finally got Kuzya over, because come May, we’ll be golfing.

  • O’Doyle

    As a person and a leader, I like Adam Oates. As a coach, unfortunately, he’s stubborn and sometimes downright stupid with the decisions he makes.

    In this NHL, with this roster, the best defense is a good offense. (See 2010.) Right now we have neither.

    I’m going to the game on Sunday. I still love the team and still live and die by every win or loss. Things will get better, the future is bright. I just hope they get better soon.

  • Eric Schulz

    I DO wonder about the inability to get pucks on net sometimes. That seems to be a Cap staple for the last 2 decades. Do other teams miss the net on great chances as often, I just don’t notice because I care less? I mean, Ovie misses the net sometimes on the rush, and it kills me because he’s the best scorer in the league, and needs to get the puck on net on those chances… but, perhaps he misses because he’s picking the corners, and a lesser shooter would miss the net less, simply hitting the goalie’s chest a lot?

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Should just turn him into a forward.

  • Lawrence

    Well, I think they played decent the 2nd half of the game. Pens are a good team man.

  • Harjot Singh

    Hey guys I’m hosting a playoff viewing party! All of RMNB and Caps players are invited! There will be bean dip!

  • disolitude

    Didn’t you guys hear? Leafs are the new Caps.
    Just watch them play…their game as of late reminds me why I became a Capitals fan in 2008 despite not living anywhere close to Washington.

  • John Atchison

    Peter is it possible that the real issue here is that he cant make changes? I have had this feeling for sometime that the reason we get inexperienced coaches is because George wants control over the club. I cant see any other reason why he has never hired an established NHL coach. I think there is a power play going on, and George wants it done his way. Oates is a smart guy, so I cant imagine he wants to run some of this crap out there every night. I mean Brouillette and Schmidt have shown way more promise than Carrick. Yet the guy is still up and they are in Hershey. Something stinks.

  • hockeyrich

    The bottom line is GMGM needs to go! Years of mistakes and now the team is depleted in young talent. He traded off is mistake Erat for Penner. This guy makes the team just even slower. Halak is a joke, I never seen a Goalie that bad at playing the puck. Why Oates continues to play 2 offensive minded defenseman together is just crazy! The team lacks heart and drive and it starts with #8, Ovie really needs to look at how he played a few years ago! Maybe he needs to take up figure skating since he just floats around and waits for his teammates to feed him the puck for a one timer! The amount of +*&^burgh fans at the Verizon center made me sick, it was the best game we played all year. But hey TED made his money! No playoff’s this year and it will be nice to save some money! For losing so much on games I couldn’t sell during the season for the Figure-Hockey on ice show at the Verizon Center, and that’s not directed at the 5 Caps with heart that play hard every shift. The team has bad chemistry, Bad coaching and even worse GM!

  • Rob W.

    a-freaking-men. the lefty and righty thing annoys the hell out of me

  • H70

    Every time I think, “Maybe!” its another dump and chase and I’m all “nope.” At this point I don’t even want to see them in the playoffs. End the misery now.

  • Matthew Kory

    I understand the sentiment. We aren’t going to win this season. Big changes may be coming in the off-season. It feels like the organization is squandering prime seasons of Ovie and Backstrom’s careers. But I’m not done. I’ll never be done.

    Go Caps!!!

  • JenniferH

    you got to give Holtby his starts

    Don’t you know? Holtby is the reason that we’ve been losing. That’s apparently the only thing that makes sense when you look at the goalie round-a-bouts and the trade and how they’ve (not) played Holts. At least according to all the other boards.

  • OviandOil

    Potential Trading Chips:
    Johansson
    Barber
    Erskine
    Green
    Orlov
    Laich
    Brouwer

    What We Need:
    2 Top 6 scoring forward
    potential guys available in free agency (Moulson,Cammareli,Legwand,Gaborik,Vanek) <—most likely won't get the bigger names

    Top 4 two way Defender
    potential guys available in free agency (Andrew MacDonald, Meszaros)

    Top 4 Defensive Defender
    potential guys available in free agency (Matt Greene)

    Top 6 Defender (good skater)
    potential guys available in free agency (Nikitin, Stralman)

  • Eric Schulz

    Just to play devil’s advocate:

    Holtby and Halak are not in the minors…;
    Too early to tell on Penner;
    Capitals are too top-heavy: the biggest thing about that is, it’s much easier to nit-pick in retrospect. The pay for Backstrom, Ovechkin, and Green were legit at the time… (I would’ve kept the length down, because there was no upside to having them on FAIR deals and LONG lengths; LONG only helps if the deal is below-market… but that’s a tad ticky-tacky), except Green has regressed, at least somewhat understandably due to injury (here is exactly why the length matters… but his was relatively short compared to Backstrom and Ovie, so.. hooray?). Laich was overpaid from the start but had he not regressed I’d be okay with that. What he brings to the table, especially on a team with a core of those 4 (3 that aren’t him lack defense), is worth more than just what the stat-sheet shows. Again, injuries have really hurt here. Luckily (I guess), he seems to be flashing the form that he used to have; we can project him returning, mostly, to the player he used to be, unlike Green who will probably never get there again (although even Green’s production last year gives me hope; that’s probably just my fandom talking, but… I have no way to finish that sentence).
    Really, the problem with us being top-heavy isn’t a problem… the problem is that we aren’t handling it properly, ie, KEEP FILIP FORSBERG! (And other players like him. He’s the poster boy for GMGM’s idiocy, although the flip side is Grabovski; you can find guys like that and reload around a super-talented core.) You can deal with having a great, expensive core, you just need to build around them better than GMGM has. First and foremost, identify your weakness! It’s in goal, that’s pretty obvious…

  • Georgoroth

    And the cries of the faithful shall reach unto heav–yeah, okay, I might have to give you this one.

  • Alex Hughes

    You can’t just ride Halak into the sunset for the rest of the season. Holtby has had a sub-par season yes I know that but you at least have to give him a chance. Yes he had a shitty game vs Boston, but so did everyone else, you can’t bench him for a long period of time because he had one bad game. We already did that to him this season and look what happened.

  • Mark Mille

    Calle needs to go and he needs to go now. This team has been almost incapable of generating offense 5 on 5 for two years now. Oates needs to fix his system because from what I have seen these past two seasons does not cut it to compete at this level.

  • Georgoroth

    And the seas shall boil and the… and the souls shall… uh… the faithful shall… oh, I just can’t tonight. Screw this.

  • Mark Mille

    I think George wants to make changes but Oates is unwilling to change his system. See the Martin Erat saga as reference.

  • Alex Hughes

    I think the Caps would get a couple pennies and a ham sandwich for Erskine. He is definitely not trade bait.

  • Barrett

    Anyone think Dale Hunter will come back if Teddy offers him part ownership?

    The team played so much better under his leadership, because he actually was a leader, not a putz like Adam Oates.

    Oates was stripped of his captaincy twice in his career, once in Boston for berating the teams management over his contract and player personnel decisions. In 1997 he lost the “A” on his sweater and was traded to Washington in which he refused to report until his contract was renegotiated. Five years later the Capitals stripped the “C” off his sweater after demanding a trade. He also pouted in St. Louis over his contract just weeks after signing it and was traded to Boston.

    Dump Oates and the coaching staff. Replace George McPhee.

  • Guest

    The Caps don’t play a dump-and-chase. What the Caps are playing is a dump-and-send-one-guy-down-to-chase-against-four-opponents-and-have-the-rest-of-the-team-watch-from-the-neutral-zone.

  • John Atchison

    Sorry dont buy that. I’m guessing Oates has little input into player selection, etc.

  • Mark Mille

    Tell me, what trades do you think he could have made at that time? We had a serious problem with cap space at that deadline and we were asking for something few teams are willing to give up easily and cheaply. Where is this magical mystical top 4 dman that matches the absurd handedness that Oates requires and was cheap enough for us to trade and not destroy our prospect pool/current team.

  • Seth Malaguerra

    Tell coach, or players, or players wives and girlfriends, or whomever that dump and chase requires chasing, not just dumping. These Caps only dump. They are dumping on my eyes and dumping on the heart.

  • patrick

    This is highly depressing, but not really why you’d think. The capitals, as an organization, are absolutely wasting the prime years of a very unique, special player in Ovi and an extraordinarily talented playmaker in backstrom. I’ve heard some of the national “experts” saying it’s impossible to build a team with ovechkins contract. Nonsense. Our foe, our nemesis Pittsburgh has done it with two huge contacts in Crosby and Malkin, and always seem to have room to add pieces – good, complimentary pieces at the trade deadline. Our management, is terrible. Our coach, I’m certain, does not have any answers – I respect the man, but his constant line shuffling and refusal to use players correctly is maddening. I’ve reached the conclusion that missing the playoffs is, in actuality, a good thing. The caps need s new gm, new coach, and to figure out exactly what kind of team they’re supposed to be, because watching them now I have no idea. They have no identity – it’s just a patchwork thrown together hoping it would work. I love thIs team, through all it’s highs and lows, but, if they cannot get things figured out, soon, then Ovi might end up the highest scoring player to never win a cup.

  • Barrett

    Or pair him with a defensive-minded defenseman instead of a younger version of himself.

  • Alex Hughes

    There’s a reason Andrew Jones went to watch the Lightning instead of the Caps.

  • 70Caps

    The Caps don’t play a dump-and-chase. What the Caps are playing is a
    dump-and-send-one-guy-down-to-chase-against-four-opponents-and-have-the-rest-of-the-team-watch-from-the-neutral-zone.

    Get your facts straight.

  • Mark Mille

    Hillen always seems to look pretty good, I just wish we could get a full season out of him

  • Michael Austin

    GMGM made a bad trade yes but he drafts very well, mabey better than anybody put in his spots in the draft

  • Hockey mom

    Ok, THIS is really going back in time…When I was a kid, Star Trek (the original series–in syndication) showed at the same time as Solid Gold (a music countdown show with dancing). My older sister always wanted to watch Star Trek, so she would change the channel when I was watching Solid Gold.

    To this day, I do not like/ refuse to watch Star Trek, new old or in between because of my sister. However, I DO love me some Star Wars!!! So I do understand what you mean!!

  • 70Caps

    Sorry, I thought I deleted this comment because I forgot to add something and its still here…

  • Michael Austin

    Trading Mojo is pointless he is exactly what we need skill with upside

  • Bilal

    I used to love Oates. Key words, USED TO. I realized that all the guy really did was get Ovechkin to Score goals like crazy again. That’s great and all, but what about the rest of the team? Come on! Throwing Orlov under the bus! Giving Wilson little to no chance! Wasting Martin Erat and NOW Dustin Penner! Giving Laich and Brouwer all these minutes when other players deserve them even more! (But I will say, those two have played better as of late). Plus not Fehr for like, the longest time! Most of Washington’s wins come from the stick of Ovechkin (or he is atleast the main reason). Thats all fine and dandy but Ovi’s not going to win em’ all! Im really starting to hate MoJo now………..Lets face it, the only good line the caps have is the Ward, Chimmer and Fehr line. Yeah Ovi and Backy are amazing but until they get a a legit guy up there like oh, I don’t………PENNER. Oh right, Oates is our coach, I forgot……all right rant over, but im just wondering, I think the caps are the only team ever to have the NHL top goal scorer in Ovechkin, and top 3 assister in Backstrom, on the team and still not be in the playoffs

  • Michael Reschly

    What happened during the first 5 minutes of the second period?

  • Mark Mille

    I just think the main problem this year has been Oates not George.

  • Michael Austin

    MJ is skill with upside, hes a bit inexperienced but he is a valuable part of this franchise

  • Owen Johnson

    Ugh, I was already having a record-breaking shitty day. By the way, on that second goal I noticed it was Crosby vs Carrick. I believe Crosby wins that 100 times out of 99.
    4 games against the Penguins. 4 rego losses. 2 shoutouts. I DON’T WANT TO LIVE ON THIS PLANET ANYMORE!!!

  • Rob W.

    haha i am a 90′s kid but my parents automatically made me a star wars kid and i couldnt be happier with their decision

  • Seth Malaguerra

    There’s a very real possibility that Ovi’s resurgence has nothing to do with coaching, other than giving him boatloads of PP ice time. That’s been the narrative but it’s really just an assumption.

  • Mark Mille

    Ovi and Backi are the lifeblood of this team.

  • John Atchison

    Oates is an extension of George. GMGM hired him to coach this team. McPhee is the guy that built the roster. Oates can only work with what he has. He is not the archiect of a team with no defense and a rash of soft european players…

  • H70

    Whoa, I did not no all this. Wow.

  • Bilal

    Yeah, too bad they won’t get a cup, unless GMGM and Oates get fired

  • Mark Mille

    That, to me if anything, wouldn’t you want the lefty’s on the right and the righties on the left for better angled shots and one timers?

  • H70

    *know. Geez, they have sucked out my brain.

  • Barrett

    I disagree, their weakness in on the blue line. I don’t think Carlson or Alzner are top pair material on a bunch of other teams around the league. The team has depth offensively on the back end, but no shutdown styles to pair them with. While Alzner is great positionally, he’s not very physical (either hitting or clearing out the net). They lack pieces to pair with Green or Orlov on the 2nd and 3rd pairs.

    Where’s the Rod Langway, Scott Stevens or Kevin Hatcher for this team?

  • Kelsey

    That shit makes me so furious it’s ridiculous – every time I see them dump the puck I wanna pull my hair out. Yeah that works if you don’t immediately turn it over to the other team EVERY SINGLE TIME. Rahhh hulk rage.

  • John Atchison

    LOL….HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA. YOu have got to be kiddin me? He is useless in the NHL. He cant take a hit or control a puck when under pressure. He never shoots a puck. He would be one of the first guys I trade out of town!

  • Mark Mille

    At this point, we have no reason not to be playing them where we project them to be. It’s doubtful we make the playoffs so we give our young players the time to show they have what it takes, but playing them at a high level of competition with a high level of minutes. If it works then great we drafted fantastic. If it doesn’t work we get a better draft position possibility.

  • Mark Mille

    This system doesnt work for 5 on 5 at all. His system focuses on making one of the best powerplays in the league with an above average penalty kill. If the system doesn’t generate for 5 on 5, then its flawed.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Yup. You want players playing where they play best and what compliments their playstyle.

  • Mark Mille

    If you are home growing an enforcer as it seems with Wilson, why do you need a Steve Olesky?

  • Hockey mom

    I STILL haven’t recovered from them sending Oleksy back down..and before he was sent down, they stopped playing him and we lost at least 3 straight games..

    Not saying he’s the greatest d man we had, but he was pretty solid and I think he has a lot of heart, which is something that this team hasn’t shown much of since he left…

  • Chris Cerullo

    I’m done with hoping for the playoffs and this current administration. Obviously I wasn’t very clear lol.

  • Mark Mille

    This is Holtby’s second season in the NHL, you really expect him to be a full blown starter yet?

  • Owen Johnson

    This sucks pretty bad, but Leonsis would have to sink much lower to be in the same breath as Snyder.

  • Owen Johnson

    That is deceiving sir. The game was never that close.

  • Dave

    Please Hire Peter Laviolette!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Owen Johnson

    To bad Fehr can’t win faceoffs. I feel like we used to have a good 3rd line center who we traded away for a bag of pucks and a ham sandwich. Can’t remember the name,

  • John Atchison

    Nick Schultz or Andrew McDonald would have worked well in that 4th slot. They went for picks. And what is worth preserving on the current team?

  • Jonathan Kenny
  • Owen Johnson

    He’s back!

  • Barrett

    I was trying to come up with some head coach candidates … adding this to the list for sure.

  • Barrett

    Boyd Gordon? Jeff Halpern? Dave Steckel?

  • bskillet

    And we got help from the Rangers, Philly and Detroit all lost, couldn’t capitalize. Really sucks.

  • Hockey mom

    It’s like Ground Hog Day watching one or both of them getting burned every game…but we haven’t found a way to remedy it!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvGNWLszAQA

  • Jared

    It’s been really difficult for me to become anti-Oates, because he’s a fantastic guy, and the stretch run last year gave me some optimism that this year could start the trend back towards our beloved 09-10 Caps so long as GMGM made the necessary moves over the Summer. That said, it’s obvious that both GMGM and Oates want the Caps to be an offensive power house that they are not. It’s telling that GMGM ignored defensive holes both during the Summer and tried to make the Caps stronger offensively instead. These aren’t the Boudreau Caps, they aren’t going to be the Boudreau Caps, and we need a coach and GM who stop treating them like the Boudreau Caps.

  • bskillet

    Marcus runs from every hit possible, never shoots instead attempts a pass through 3 guys, shameful.

  • Jared

    Boo on Andrew MacDonald. If anything, he’s going to help us catch up to the Flyers with the way he plays defense.

  • RT23

    Back when my oldest son was 2 or 3 I was playing on a very good team and we had a playoff game so my parents brought Charlie to watch. We were dominating but losing 3-1 to a weaker team at the end of the 2nd and were really frustrated. I skated over to the glass to check on him and he put his mouth up to the small opening and said “shoot in narrow!”. I stared at him and my parents who looked confused and he said it several more times – “Shoot it narrow!” Suddenly my Mom (who knows her hockey) starts laughing uncontrollably. “I’ve been sitting here saying the problem is that your team keeps shooting it wide.”

    I skated to my bench and started telling all the guys to “shoot it narrow” – Stop trying to be perfect and make the goalie stop it. We won 5-3.

    When watching the Caps I often find myself wanting to yell “shoot it narrow” at the TV.

  • Jared

    He needs to be surrounded by talent to succeed. Mojo was money in the stretch run last year on the top line with Ovi and Backy. Drop him down, and he has problems. I know it’s a small sample size, but I’m starting to wonder if Penner has the same problem.

  • Jeff Tsuruoka

    Bottom line– The Caps just don’t have the will to go with their skill. Even in that President’s Trophy season lack of will & ability to deal with adversity ultimately did them in. The last time this team had any real guts to it Glen Hanlon was still the coach. They got close to having guts under Dale Hunter but a system that handcuffed Ovi that much was not going to be tenable for more than the few months it ran. The Caps have never had the intangibles that separate a very good team from a champion. This team loves to win. I’m not convinced that they hate to lose. I mean, really hate it. Hate it more than they love winning. And until they do we’re in for more disappointment.

  • Jared

    Kuzya had a beautiful pass across ice to Ovi during the last PP, and Ovi missed it. Then Ovi sent a nice one back, and Kuzya missed it. Just a perfect symbol of the Caps season.

  • John Atchison

    One of the top shot blockers in the league at the moment. Yea we certainly dont need that. Doing much better with all the matadors lined up in front of the goalies

  • disolitude

    But if Kuzya has to put in his dues. Can’t just leapfrog superstars like Brouwer and Chimera and go straight to the top 2 lines regardless of how skilled he is. That’s not how hockey works my friend…

  • Jared

    He certainly wouldn’t be any help to a team that already struggles with possession #’s.

    Amac vs Poor Opponents: Average Corsi of these opponents: 44% (Terrible). Actual vs AMac: 47%
    Amac vs Mediocre Opponents: Average Corsi of these opponents: 48.5% (Meh): Actual vs AMac: 53.2%
    AMac vs Good Opponents: Average Corsi of these opponents: 51.1% (Good): Actual vs AMac: 54%
    AMac vs Elite Opponents: Average Corsi of these opponents: 56.5% (elite): Actual vs AMac: 58.2%

  • Hockey mom

    A few years back, Date Lab literally used a chimp to pick out people to match up for a date and they got along pretty well…Maybe we need to call the Nat’l Zoo to see if that chimp is free tomorrow?

  • RT23

    “Wait. Where are you going? I was going to make Espresso.”

  • Luis Riveros

    I love Ovi and HATE Crosby but he has scored and made plays in these two games to win them and Ovi hasn’t done much in the past three games, I don’t mean to sound like those NBC dumb fucks but if you want to win big games and get into the playoffs you have to score or make plays, he knows if he scores the team is different and gets around him. WE NEED GRABO BACK for the second line! Adam Oates needs to put his pride and his system to the side adjust this defense and his blocking shots exposes you bull crap…

  • Hockey mom

    That’s funny! I totally think that they have a tendency to over complicate their game, and either lose or miss opportunities because of it.

  • Luis Riveros

    NHL 14 produces better lines than that idiot…

  • Barrett

    Dale Hunter as the head coach with Adam Oates as the assistant would have probably been a good fit. Ovechkin gets moved to the right wing and shines on the power play with Oates running it and the defense clamps down under Hunter’s leadership.

  • redmachine

    Im sorry ovi…

  • redmachine

    I know its easy to blame the coach but how many coaches and line changes do we have to go through, just to realize we need another coach and another line change

  • Fehrur

    Obviously you don’t know what your talking about or your letting your extreme hate for the Penguins cloud your simple mind. The Penguins D is one of the top in the league. They have the best PP kill and top PP. The fact that you said the Penguins aren’t a great team is ridiculous. Being a capitals fan doesn’t mean being delusional you clown. Get real and stop living in fantasy land RMNB.

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

    2 things about that.

    1) Oates doesn’t like lots of shot blocking
    2) Blocking shots is inversely correlated with puck possession

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

    I dunno. I don’t think there’s a “oh this is the actual problem” moment coming. Seems like a whole bunch of little stuff, shared and compounded by Oates and GM together and apart.

  • Catherine__M

    My team won second place in pub trivia tonight. $25. Was Irish themed for St. Patrick’s Day. Would have been in first by a mile (prize: 2 100 level tickets to Caps Stars on April 1) if it hadn’t been for an *actual Irishman* for whom questions like “name the six counties of Northern Ireland” is the equivalent of “what state is New York City in”. That’s basically all I’m willing to say about tonight.

  • jj

    Yeah seriously, Peter. The Penguins have the best penalty kill and power play in the league. They are a team the Caps need to model themselves around. IMO Ovechkin, Backstrom, Alzner, Carlson, Orlov,Kutz, Wilson, Ward, Grabovski, and maybe Fehr are the only players that should be retained. No other player should be considered untouchable trade wise. The season is over guys.

  • SleepyAlligator

    They should make Alan May one of the coaches. He’s got good ideas/analysis, and I think he could spark the team.

  • Connor

    2014-2015 wishful thinking caps lines

    Kuznetsov-Backstrom-Ovechkin

    Callahan-Grabovski-Burakovski
    Chimmer-Fehr-Ward
    Brouwer-Beagle-Wilson

    Alzner-Carlson
    Bowey-Niskanen
    Orlov-Nitkinin

    1.Grubauer
    2.Holtby

    Buy out/trade: Laich and Green

    Trade: Mojo, Carrick

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

    Sorry. No.

    Depth is a big problem for PIT. Scuderi is a disaster on the ice and Engo isn’t much better. Martin is out. Only Maatta and Niskanen outscore opponents.

    Among forward, the Pens have lost the sturdiness their third line used to bring. Malkin and Crosby are still dominant, but they’re carrying all the water.

    https://twitter.com/ShutdownLine/status/442746445964140544

    They’re not Cup contenders, even if they look like it now.

    Cheers.

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

    Nice special teams don’t win championships alone. The stuff I mentioned is valid and more important.

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

    The fact is we have one of the most (possibly THE most) inexperienced coaching staffs in the NHL. Pick a random team–though I would suggest a team in the EAST that is ahead of us in playoff position (NJD or TBL or CBJ?) and go to their website and look at their coaching staff’s resume’ and compare them to the Caps. While Oates hadn’t been a head coach before becoming the Caps bench boss, he also chose as assistants ones even less experienced than he was. That doesn’t help and it is a big issue. Oates impresses me as someone who, though a very intelligent hockey mind, has difficulty lighting a fire under his players and inspiring them. It’s as if everything is something to THINK about and approach cerebrally rather than from the gut and heart. He seems to over-think every aspect. It’s so simple to screen the goalie yet the Caps don’t do it regularly. Why wasn’t Penner put in on the final PP (with Halak pulled) Monday night to do just that? Probably because Oates analyzed that there was a better solution than having the 6’4″ 247lb Penner, who has 13G & 19A, as one of our TWO extra attackers.

    Ron Wilson is available.

  • jj

    dude they have 92 points. You’re just wrong saying that the Penguins aren’t a good team. If the Penguins aren’t a good team, than what does that make us? Stop making excuses for these guys

  • Zach Evans

    I think it’s just time for wholesale changes. GM, Head coach and staff. Japers Rink did a great post on how Calle’s coaching frankly stinks. (link: http://www.japersrink.com/2014/3/11/5485214/a-blueline-thats-hard-to-defend ). Oates is clearly outmatched coaching, he can’t make changes as most of you, or various RMNB authors have documented. George’s direction has run thin. It’s been great since ’98 but I am on the bandwagon that just wholesale changes need to be made. We’re wasting what’s left of the prime years of Ovechkin, Backstrom, Carlson, Alzner, etc. We have incoming talent such as Burakovsky, Bowey, Barber, not to mention Kuzya and Wilson. We need a coaching staff, and front office that can shape our talent in the right direction, and notice when they’re overmatched and send them down for more experience (cough Carrick cough). Unfortunately all we can do is rant to each other here. Three cheers for RMNB and the community. We may suck but we always got each other!

  • Matt Root

    I think with Brooks catching a bit of wind right now makes him more desirable to trade rather than buyout. I’d prefer that be used on Green and try trading Laich in the offseason. That’s totally ideal for me but not sure how likely it is.

  • Matt Root

    I love me some Alan May but I’d really prefer a complete outside hire of the organization.

  • Matt Root

    I loved the part you mentioned about Sid and Genos contract YET still having space to add the correct pieces. Every offseason I am always amazed when I hear “Penguins looking to acquire “insert big name free agent”. I think George has been over-valuing bottom-six forwards as well as AHL caliber defensemen which hand-cuffed the team from surrounding Ovi and Nicky with the talent to fully utilize their prime.

  • Matt Root

    I miss Kundratek.

  • Matt Root

    I missed you haha

  • Matt Root

    Remember that time I asked you to remain positive and not join the dark side of despair? All I gotta say now is welcome aboard

  • Matt Root

    I’ve been a long-time ranter of wanting Nicky to shoot. Too often than not, the powerplay is tons of cute passes and a wide open lane for Nicky but no shot. Sad part is that he has a beautiful wrister but lacks that shooting mentality.

  • Matt

    Please Ted,
    Replace George McFee, Calle Johanssen, and Olie Kolzig. Your team going down the drain.
    VR/
    Fans

  • Diller M

    Lol I thought the same thing. Beagle makes me laugh every time he gets the puck in the Offensive zone, he has no skills.

  • BigRest

    8 times…

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah, I was joking about how GMGM thinks it’s the goaltending that needs to be solved, and refuses to address the blueline in any way, shape, or form.
    I think Alzner and Carlson are a legit top pair, I just think we need a higher caliber 4th defender to pair with Green (at this point, he’d need to be 3rd, with Green as 4th). While I think we have a LOT of guys who are legit 3rd pairing guys (Oleksy, Hillen, Orlov, Schmidt), they are all the same type of defender, and we need a defensive, people-mover type; all we have are puck-movers, and I’d MUCH rather have the deficiency be the other way around.

  • JenniferH

    This is where the Holtby-fangirl in me comes out in play (and I’m so sorry, but this is a rant that has been building for months–it’s NOT directed at you). I don’t really see where Holtby has had this awful season, but really just a handful of games that are actually on him. He had a fine season minus a few so-so games–which happen to every goalie–up until a lousy one in December that was courtesy of Mike Green’s insane number of penalties led to too many shots on goal that even the Holtbeast couldn’t fight against leading to Grubauer taking over for a momentum shift. Then Oates sat him out for a few games.

    Holtby came back, had an immediately admittedly awful game, and then Oates sat him out for pretty much the rest of December and most of January for hot hands Grubaeur and then Neuvy (who did deserve to get some starts), but the supposed #1 (hah!) was getting crapped over. Holtby finally got in a few games before the Olympics, began to hit a groove again playing his style, won a few games (yes, letting more goals than he and we would have liked, but hey, when dealing with our blue line and facing between 30-40 shots, most often nearer the 40-mark), that’s gonna happen!)

    I don’t see how this awful, terrible, subpar season can be blamed on anyone but the god-awful coaching decisions of Oates and his staff. Holtby was doing fine until Kolzig forced him to change his style, the defense (namely Green) screwed him over, and Oates pulled him and benched him during the three-headed Goalie rotation (that was not really a rotation because Holtby barely played at all in said “rotation”) of December and January. That was the phase of his so-called “subpar season.” Before that mess started in December, Holtby’s stats were in the top ten of the league’s goalies. So, I don’t blame him, I blame Oates and Kolzig and GMGM.

    I love the Capitals but I frigging can’t stand their Front Office!

  • JenniferH

    *sigh* It’s the Halak situation. I knew that when GMGM signed another goalie that I would barely see Holtby anymore and there went the light that kept the hope shining bright for me. Without his pretty saves and shining hair, I’m not distracted enough to miss the disaster that Oates has wrought upon the ice. I’ve been Halak’d. ‘tear

  • Barrett

    I was hoping so. It was either that or you were bipolar off your meds haha. You agreed with that stance a few days ago.

    I did a little cap geek armchair GM last night (along with half the Caps fan base) and this is what I did : http://www.capgeek.com/armchair-gm/roster/6478

    Resigned Grabovski, Penner and Orlov. Bought out Erskine’s contract (although there’s cap room to keep him). Traded MoJo to Anaheim for draft picks. Signed Douglas Murray to pair with Green. Recalled Oleksy to pair with Orlov. Plenty of space cap wise for other moves, but a good chunk of the players contracts expire in 2015 so it makes sense to hold off on the UFA signings.

  • Stephen

    I was really hoping this would be relevant between either of these games to describe a pens loss :(

    http://i.imgur.com/FumqHxx.gif

  • Aerobahn

    Those were all 4th. Think he means Perru.

  • JenCo

    I think GMGM has made every attempt to put a winning team on the ice. I think we are all disenchanted with the framework of the Caps. For 8 seasons especially, we have been on the cusp of something great. Or what was supposed to be great. Constantly hearing that this team will win multiple Cups, this team will be the team to finally give us that long overdue parade in DC, the banner in our barn, and it isn’t happening. For whatever reason. I think everything is so in this teams’ head, that it can’t do anything right. Maybe missing the playoffs is exactly what they need. Maybe Ovi and Gabby should have found a way to work things out. Whatever it is that’s going on, SOMETHING needs to change. What that something is, who knows. Maybe we get a new GM and a new head coach. But I feel like since 2010, this team has been grasping at straws trying to find the quick fix, in order to steal a Championship. Just to get a Championship, to prove that they can, and to keep the seats filled. The Verizon Center is now turning into home ice advantage for the opposing team and it’s disheartening to me. Watching these games has become a tension filled experience for me. But I’ll keep watching. Because that’s what we do as fans. But man, do I miss that high I used to feel with the potential of what the playoffs could bring. I has a springtime sad and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT, Caps!

  • sheena dunn

    This is what me and my coworker were talking about yesterday!!!!!!

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

    I didn’t say they aren’t good. I said they’re not a great team (which meant “cup contender” to me).

    Saying the Caps got destroyed by a “not great” team is the OPPOSITE of an excuse.

  • http://plus.google.com/+jayrushing Jay Rushing

    It’s called the dump and retreat.

  • Hockey mom

    I think there is definitely a mental issue…It’s like they are their own worst enemy at times.

  • serpent

    There’s SO MUCH wasted talent on this team!! Game after game, it’s getting too sad too watch. If we can see it, what’s with Oates.GMGM,etc? Are they wearing rosy glasses or blinders? WTF??

  • Shaun Phillips

    When Oleksy stopped getting regular minutes is when the defense really collapsed (it had been on life support up to that point).

    Apparently the demotion to Hershey hit him pretty hard, heard he’s been getting scratched regularly there.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Don’t need him as an enforcer, just need him as a better defenseman than Carrick. At least Oleksy can move someone out of the way instead of getting run over. Carrick needs to go back to the AHL and learn to be a wing (with his skating/passing ability). That’s the only way he’s going to have a chance to succeed in the NHL.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Cap going up 7 mil. Buy out Laich (another 4.5 mil). Let Halak walk and call up Grubi. That should give ~15 mil to resign Grabo, Penner, and a top 4 dman. GMGM and Oates both need to go.

  • Shaun Phillips

    They’d all be 3C on this team. Could be worse, could be the Wings right now (top 5C at the beginning of the season all injured).

  • Rhino40

    Ray Shero has signed a pact with Satan (no I don’t mean Miro…the other Satan).

    There is simply no other explanation for his constant pwning of the trade & draft universe, and the constant parade of wierd bounces and questionable calls that almost always seem to benefit his team.

    The penguin in nature is an interesting and perhaps even noble creature. But it’s an effete and stupid mascot for a hockey team.

    I hate Pittsburgh with the white-hot intensity of a billlllllion suns.

  • Rhino40

    I feel you…

  • JenCo

    A GM puts the players on the roster, to win games and ultimately a Championship. The coach decides how best, to use those players. Or at least, that’s how it SHOULD be. I don’t like Oates. I don’t like him, because he is unwilling to think outside of his box. I DO appreciate the way that he talks about and defends his players. I think the locker room caused a lot of disturbances this season. Having players wanting to leave this team, is never a good thing. And a coach that can not manage his players or at least make their concerns seem valid, is not a coach I want.

  • Rhino40

    Again: Ray Shero has signed a pact with Satan…

  • Shaun Phillips

    Yeah the Wings lost, but they lost to ‘lumbus who pulled further ahead in the WC race.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Missing the playoffs doesn’t save money, it costs money. The players don’t get paid during the playoffs (salary is regular season) so all income during the playoffs is profit.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Not Green, but Carrick yes.

  • Hockey mom

    I heard that, too…it really bums me out, because I don’t think his replacements are even at the same caliber that he was playing at before Oates benched him…and now they have mind f***ed him by sending him back down, for no apparent reason.

    Another wasted opportunity…

  • Shaun Phillips

    And that graph shows the problems the Wings have right now…

  • Rhino40

    Q: “Where’s the Rod Langway, Scott Stevens or Kevin Hatcher for this team?

    A: Getting Shanabanned (“why? because they play for Washington!”) whenever they do things other teams/players get away with.

    The Refs hate us. NBC hates us. The NHL hates us. The Hockey Gods hate us. Please make it stop–I am all out of goats to sacrifice!

  • Daniel Walker

    Ted extended Grunfeld, I would not put it past him to extend McPhee. A McPhee extension would be the move that sinks Ted to Angelos level for me. You are correct though…. The Snyder depths are almost unachievable. I just hate to see ted closing the gap between the two of them.

  • Karee Lyn

    Silver lining… did anyone see that Mike Green had a hit? Like an actual hit? Like one where he didn’t fall? Anyone?

  • Pat

    I stopped reading after “I think GMGM has made every attempt to put a winning team on the ice.”

  • JenCo

    Ok :)

  • Jesse Morgan

    And in the playoffs, when the refs put the whistles away, how will their special teams matter?

  • Daniel Walker

    GMGM as a strong drafter/evaluator of talent is a myth. The Ovie draft was a no brainer. Backstrom has panned out about as projected but was also a no brainer. Other than that, almost every one of his picks has been either a complete failure, an individual he has traded away to soon and has panned out for another organization or the type of player who has shown flashes of greatness accompanied by an overall lack of delivery on expectations. Compared to other NHL GM’s, I would say he is below average in this and every other respect.

  • Jonah

    I didn’t think the move for hunter was because he was just a former cap. He and his brother ran the London nights and they are absolutely money out there in the juniors.

  • Owen Johnson

    I was referring to Matty P on this particular comment. But yeah, having one of those guys on the 4th line would be nice…

  • OlietheGoalie

    I’m not the only one hoping that the Caps don’t make the playoffs, right? I hope it forces Ted’s hand and makes him realize that the window has closed on this current team make-up. We need an identify, we need defense, and we need someone who knows how to reshape it. I’m not saying blow up the entire thing, but what we have now won’t work and it’ll only get worse as the years go on.

  • Jonah

    Yeah but they’re still winning and competing. Also their prospects haven’t done that bad this year, unlike a certain Carrick, Wilson, and whatever other ahl players we’ve had up

  • Roman Z.

    Not making the POs will be beneficial in so many ways and I’m being 100% serious.

  • Bilal

    I could sit here, and be shoveled crap, all day, but no one, and I mean NO ONE can tell me that putting Penner, Beagle and Brouwer was an okay thing to do! Also does looking at those related arcticle, espescially the one that says “The Sweep! Caps beat pens 6-3!” depress anybody?

  • riggorules

    I’ve been done with Oates for a while (although I admit I thought it was a good hire). I think he’s a smart guy that would be a great assistant to a better head coach who would know which of his ideas were clever and which need to be dismissed. I know it will be difficult, but they should cut their losses and part ways.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Did you watch the Wings game last night? ;) Didn’t bother to show up for the 3rd period at all and ‘lumbus walked all over them. On the outside looking in at the playoff race as well. Wings have a lot of the same issues as the Caps on defense. Dekeyser and Kronwall are the only two worthwhile d-men, with Ericsson and Quincey being the turnover machines. Kindl, Smith, and Lashoff are still young and learning.

    To be fair to Carrick and Wilson, the Wings’ prospects have spent a lot more time in the AHL to grow their game and are more mature mentally/physically. On most other teams, Nyquist and Tatar would’ve been on a NHL roster a year or two ago. Carrick shouldn’t be in the NHL right now (or maybe ever) and Wilson has been horribly misused.

  • Barrett

    He was/is about a 51% faceoff guy, which is around most of the Capitals players currently except Beagle. I just remember Steckel leading the league on year and Halpern and Gordon always seemed to do well.

  • Barrett

    My point was, the team has no shutdown defenders that like to hit. We have a bunch of Larry Murphy’s and Al Iafrate’s, all offense and little to no defense.

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

    I’m not sure those roles are still viable in today’s league.

    Frankly, I’m less interested in how defense plays without the puck than what they do to *keep* the puck more.

  • Shaun Phillips

    No but he can decide who gets ice-time and how much they get. He basically forced Erat out which forced GMGM to trade him.

  • Owen Johnson

    51% is still better than Fehr on faceoffs. And yeah, Steckel had some absurd % one year.

  • Peter

    “Organic” in this case means “Anything But Hunter Hockey.”

  • Roy Schue

    I think he puts everyone’s name in a hat and draws the lines up that way

  • Roy Schue

    Oates hockey is frustrating and hard to figure what the hell he is thinking. But hunter hockey was mind numbingly boring.

  • Barrett

    Matty P has around 400 more faceoff attempts than Eric Fehr, but still Fehr is pretty terrible at around 47%. So are Brooks Laich, 45%, and Nicklas Backstrom, 49%.

    Troy Brouwer is currently the 3rd best faceoff man the Capitals have at 51.5%. They really need Grabovski back and to give Beagle more faceoff opportunities.

  • Barrett

    Sure they are. Players like Dan Girardi, Shea Weber, Dion Phaneuf, Kevin Bieska, Zdeno Chara, Mark Stuart, Ladislav Smid, Jack Johnson, Erik Johnson, PK Subban, Brent Seabrook, Jan Hejda, Douglas Murray, Johnny Boychuk, Nicklas Grossmann, Brooks Orpik, Francois Beauchemin, Brenden Dillon…all players that can log top line (or near it) minutes. Most are primarily good defenders that block shots and log high hit totals without sacrificing much offensively.

  • Bugs Fire

    Indeed. All the “brilliant” trades of this year deadline are fixing mess GM created. At the end of the season Penner, Halak and Grabo will walk and Caps will have Ovie+20 random and often overpriced guys (Penner/Halak are random too, as they fix imaginary problems). There is no system in the madness GMGM perpetrated on this hockey club.

  • Bugs Fire

    Speaking of bounces – have you seen last year Pens-Bruins series?

    Except for one Cup (and even that could have flown away on a red wing), Pens of Crosby years are chokers. I’ll give them first round this year, no matter who emerges from Detroit/Tampa/Columbus/Washington 20 game dash. If they hit Philly, they are done, and it will be ugly. Rangers will be even worse, because they have the personnel to capitalize on Pens major weakness – lack of solid defence. And even if by some miracle they get to conference finals, they will be greeted there by broad smiles of Bay State boys. Only this time they have Iginla.

  • Bugs Fire

    Yes, you are not the only one. And it is no longer hope, it’s reality. Because unlike last year when Caps emerged victorious from the disappointment of the Pens game they had to have on the double minor penalty, this year excellent effort games they post occasionally (Sharks, Blues, two of four Pens meetings, etc) are followed by disasters. They have been so bad playing against bottom half of the league. They had once again the advantage of playing in a weak division. I don’t care if they lose the games they have to lose to stronger opponents. What I can’t stand is all the points wasted in Buffalo, Long Island, Raleigh, Calgary, Toronto and Philadelphia. This season positively sucks.

    But let’s say they make the playoffs. So what? Does anyone here is looking forward to reinvigorating experience of watching them fall to Pens in the first round? Say Columbus and Philly implode and Caps make it to the third division spot. Then what? How will that first round vs Rangers go? Wait, we already know. Am I looking forward to Connor Carrick and yes, Mike Green creating opportunities for 100+ year old StLouis? No, not really.

    So as much as I want them to make playoffs, I would welcome an early release from this pain. The only reason I’d like to see them make playoffs is to test whether GMGM and HC will have the audacity to claim in post-season interview that once again, mighty Caps were undone by bad calls and weird bounces.

    I do like Adam Oates. But assuming that he does not know his shit is not working is insulting to his hockey intelligence. My only question is why is he not changing his ways? Is that part of Machiavellian plan to rid us all of GMGM? Nothing else makes sense. Scratching Erat in favour of Volpatti is an act of sabotage. What was Erskine doing there all this time? How come a talented 19-old forward is forced into enforcer role and yet another 19 year old blueliner is given an assignment he cannot possibly succeed at? Why this brilliant HOF playmaker cannot see that Marcus Johanssen has done nothing all season long to earn first line spot? That Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer shall never ever be on the same line? That Grabovski and Fehr are turning Ovie into a playmaker because, you know, they actually don’t mind scoring a goal?

    Done ranting for now. Looking forward to remainder of the season, mercifully there is not much left. Maybe they can scrape a win or two along the way. What a wasted season.

  • Bugs Fire

    Well we all agree that Caps stink this year (for whatever reason). Yet despite all of this, Pens could have lost 3 of 4 meetings (they only truly dominated the first game). They are good, but they are not great.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah, I’m on there a lot too; I really don’t think we are that far away. I mean, think about if we are able to keep Penner (at this point, I don’t think salary is an issue, the question would be, do we want to keep him, and is he expecting a vastly different – higher – contract? So far, I’ve liked what I’ve seen – small sample size, but that’s all we have so far – and on the second, I’d doubt it. Say $2.5 mil for 3 years, to be conservative. I’d like 2, but I’d be willing to go 3, honestly, although I’d hope $2-$2.3 mil) and, more importantly, Grabovski (money is NOT an issue here, and all accounts seem to be that we want him back, and he doesn’t want out; say, $4.5 mil for 3 years? I hope that’s a tad conservative, but I don’t know… I mean, you could easily argue he deserves more, if you look at Bozak but… I mean, Clarkson.) So, our top-6 is:
    Penner – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – ?
    To me, that’s a legit contender there, at least so far. I think Brouwer is a legit 2nd line winger, although this year he has been more of a 3rd; recently, however, he’s turned it up, and looking at last year, that’s not exactly an aberration. I don’t expect him to score like he did last year, and net 30+ goals and 55+ points, but he should approach 25-25–50 at least, and he looks, to me, like a good fit with the more skilled Kuznetsov and Grabovski.
    Now, we have some nice pieces for the bottom-6 too. I like:
    Laich – Johansson – Wilson
    as a very nice 3rd. If Laich regains form – he has played much better recently – he’s a legit 3rd liner on a contender, and Wilson is a great fit for any 3rd line. I’m not as down on Johansson as most seem to be. I think he’s got some skill, and he’s pretty young and cheap. I think that would be a nice trio; if we DID trade him, we should acquire proven talent by finding a rebuilding team that values him as a young, cheap asset moving forward… maybe as part of a piece to acquire Frans Nielsen from the Isles or something (defense is more important, but Nielsen is a good defensive forward, and we need those almost as much as a physical, top-4 D-man. Also, off the top of my head, I don’t see any really nice fit on D from any rebuilding team. We couldn’t take a flyer Myers, he’s too expensive; we wouldn’t want Justin Schultz from the Oilers, he’s another puck mover – and he’s too good/young/cheap for them to be willing to trade him unless it’s for Backstrom or something, but that aside, it’s still not a great move for us; we wouldn’t want Giordano from the Flames, another puck mover, etc).
    4th line:
    Chimera – Fehr – Ward
    That’s been a really good line for us this season, and after our (legit) top-6, you could argue this as our 3rd line, but Chimera will be older, Ward will regress, and I just think there’s more talent on the 3rd as I have it (Wilson and Johansson should improve with continued maturity – especially Wilson – and Laich, hopefully, continues to heal). Beagle is a healthy scratch, and we have a few nice guys in the AHL ready to be called up if injuries hit: Latta, of course, and I like Ryan Stoa as a more veteran guy, Wellman impressed in a brief stint… not too much else beyond that, but we also have some nice prospects in Burakovsky, Barber, Stephenson, Schmidt, Bowey, Grubauer, and Sanford.
    In goal, you have to be comfortable with Holtby backed up by Grubauer. Holtby has been very impressive in the playoffs, and Grubauer flashed in his relatively brief NHL stint this year. The small sample size with Grubauer isn’t great if Holtby goes down, but few teams could sustain a long-term injury to their starting goalie, so I don’t expect better. We just need to shore up our defense. Alzner – Carlson is, in my opinion, a legit top pairing. The way they’ve played this season, they haven’t been as rock-solid as they normally are, but I expect improvement next year; they aren’t a very high-end top pair, but they wouldn’t hold back a contender. Green as the puck-mover on your 2nd pairing works just fine. On the 3rd, we have a puck-mover, whether it’s Orlov, Schmidt, Hillen, or Oleksy. I’d lean towards playing Orlov, letting Schmidt continue to develop in the AHL, and Hillen and/or Oleksy can be the healthy scratches, and we can get them some games here or there. The problem is, the people-mover on the bottom two pairings; we just don’t have one, much less two. If we wanted to try Orlov with Oleksy, with Hillen scratched, I’d be okay with that, but I’d like to see us go after two DFD in free agency. I disagree with you about Douglas Murray, I think he’s too old, and with Mike Green’s… erratic… play, we can’t gamble on Murray too. I love Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene. Would really love to grab one, if not both.. I’d imagine both would be just about impossible, cap-wise… but I’m not too sure until we know what the cap will be next year. Either one to pair with Green *ought* to be a pairing we can move forward with… on the 3rd, I’d go after a cheaper (obviously) DFD; somebody older might work here, so Derek Morris, Douglas Murray could fit here better than with Green, I think… Matt Hunwick? I really liked Scott Hannan in his prime, didn’t like that we let him go… the problem here is, I’ve been able to watch so few non-Capitals games recently, that I really don’t know which of these guys I’d want to target. But let’s just say that Greene is the guy I think he is, and Hannan wants to come back, and is still a legit NHLer:
    Penner – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Brouwer
    Laich – Johansson – Wilson
    Chimera – Fehr – Ward
    Alzner – Carlson
    Greene – Green
    Orlov – Hannan
    Holtby
    Grubauer
    healthy scratches: Beagle, Oleksy, Hillen
    I feel like that team is a contender… we just need Green and Laich to be relatively healthy (obviously we need health from key guys, but no more than any contender, with the exception of those two). And TWO more factors: ONE, we need Johansson to get more consistent. I feel like we could put him on that 3rd line and ask those guys to play a simple game, and he could be though. I think that maybe he tries to do too much playing with Backstrom and Ovechkin, and has been getting inside his own head too much lately. TWO… as much as I love Fehr, we need a better 4th line center (we suck at faceoffs; that’s where I’d address it, although if we could move, like, Johansson, a 1st, and Carrick to the Isles for Frans Nielsen to be our 3rd liner, that’d be fucking great too; I’d be willing even to throw in Fehr AND Ward to dump salary if we needed to, and then we can roll with a bottom-6 of:
    Laich – Nielsen – Wilson
    Chimera – Latta – Brown). I miss Dave Steckel; he’d be a perfect 4th line C. If we could throw Galiev or something at whoever has him to reacquire him, I’d do it in a heartbeat (assuming little-to-no dropoff, which I cannot attest to, obviously, as I have no idea what team he’s currently on). If not, there are a few centers out there that *might* fit the bill: Michal Handzus, Dominic Moore, Colin Fraser, Vernon Fiddler, Marcel Goc? Zenon Konopka is a beast on faceoffs… but I’m not sure he’d be worth it.

  • Barrett

    There were numerous guys I looked at to pair with Mike Green and Dimitry Orlov. Mark Fayne (NJD), Nikita Nikitin (CBJ), Mark Fraser (EDM), Anton Belov, (EDM), Matt Greene (LAK) and Andy MacDonald (PHI). I disagree about Murray being too old at age 34 when Willie Mitchell is going to be 37 years old. I honestly wouldn’t mind having both of them. I’m a huge fan of both guys. Murray for his physical presence and Mitchell has that savvy veteran leadership this team needs. That adds two veterans to a pretty young defensive group which Mike Green is currently the elder statesman of at age 28.

    I’m not a big fan of Jack Hillen, only because he’s undersized and is buried behind all the puck-moving d-men we have, but I would keep him for depth and because he’s on an expiring contract, which could be used to trade at the deadline. I love Oleksy and think him with Orlov could be a good 3rd pair. Let him rotate in to give the older guys nights off.

    The one position the Capitals need to improve on is down the middle. They are very weak in the face off circle. I like MoJo’s speed and puck handling, but he doesn’t shoot and isn’t good on faceoffs. That makes him expendable and I shipped him off to Anaheim who will have a shortage of centers (they also currently employ Dave Steckel). One guy I’d like to get my hands on is Steve Ott, former Sabre, now with the Blues. I view him as a perfect 3rd line center. He can kill penalties, take face-offs, play a scoring role and line up at all three forward positions.

    I’m stuck with what to do with Fehr, I feel like he’s the odd man out. I wouldn’t be opposed to moving him in the offseason (sent him off to Nashville) to make cap room for another 3rd/4th line center, say Manny Malhotra? Another guy that is solid defensively
    and can win the face off battles. It might be wishful thinking to assume the Ward-Chimera duo carries into next year. The system seems loaded with talented wingers, as you listed, and could easily be replenished with AHL call-ups.

    I think we have the goalie situation all wrong, I went for a veteran over two young guys in Holtby and Grubauer. Remember, Holtby has around 120 games of NHL experience. When the Capitals had good years there was usually a veteran goalie (Kolzig, Huet, Theodore, Vokoun). I originally had Brian Elliot, but I think maybe Evgeni Nabokov could be a good veteran signing.

    http://www.capgeek.com/armchair-gm/roster/6538

  • Owen Johnson

    I’m actually even suprised their percentages are that high, considering we’ve been losing faceoffs 2:1 recently.
    And let me say this. I love Eric Fehr. I think he’s a solid winger. Let me repeat: he is a solid WINGER!

  • Owen Johnson

    Dan Snyder has called upon George Allen to defend the Redskins nickname. You know, that politician from Virginia who had his political career derailed by using a RACIAL SLUR ON CAMERA? Seriously, the more Snyder tries to defend the name, the more I think it needs to be changed. Sorry, it’s irrelevant, but I just had to rant about that.

  • Owen Johnson

    What about Oates? I think he should be ahead of Olie on the chopping block. Behind CalleJo though.

  • Eric Schulz

    Oh, I definitely have no problem adding a veteran to back up Holtby, I just don’t think there’s any chance of it happening.
    As far as Murray, I don’t think it’s the age, it’s just I think he’s done. Jeff Schultz is younger than him, but he was done 4 years ago…