The Nail: Devils Beat Caps 2-1

BruceBennett

Photo: Bruce Bennett

Tuesday’s Caps game was ugly. The days that followed didn’t get much better. Adam Oates kinda sorta maybe called out Alex Ovechkin on Wednesday for being Alex Ovechkin. The national hockey media devoured it like it was some delicious Chipotle guac. Ovi wasn’t made available to reporters on Thursday to respond.

With six games left, everyone started to realize it would take divine intervention for the Capitals to make the playoffs. If they did make it, they didn’t deserve to be there — and the Capitals knew that.

The scoring got started tonight with an even-strength Alex Ovechkin tally, the first since we still cared about the Winter Olympics. Playing on a line with Mikhail Grabovski and Nicklas Backstrom, Ovi took a feed from Grabo in the near circle before flipping the puck past Cory Schneider.

During a second period in which the Devs dominated play, New Jersey tied the game up. Twelve minutes into the frame, Tuomo Ruutu tipped home a shot from D-man Eric Gelinas to make it one-one.

The Caps headed into the third with a man-advantage, needing their power play to once again save them from disaster. It didn’t happen.

Ryan Carter scored a late goal for New Jersey. Devils beat Caps 2-1.

    • After two weeks of having the ice titled against them like a waterfall, Jay Beagle and Alex Ovechkin played on different lines for the entire game. Ovi even skated with Nicklas Backstrom, who is good. So, you know, that was neat.
    • Just like that — and really this must be complete luck — Nicky assisted on Ovi’s first 5-on-5 goal since February, a span of 17 games. Sadly it was about 17 games too late. For those keeping track at home (Hi, Mike!), Ovi’s now just minus-35. Ovi generated nine shot attempts tonight. Nick + Ovi 4evar.
    • The lines were still classic Oates. The second line tonight Marcus Johansson, Beagle, and Troy Brouwer. I’m not sure there’s anything intelligible you can say about that one. However, Beagle had two (!) shots on goal tonight. I believe that’s more than Beagvechkin ever registered. Mojo also almost tied the game late.
    • The Caps PK — which is mediocre — kept them in the game tonight, killing off four penalties including Joel Ward’s key double minor.
    • The Caps fourth line — which includes perhaps three guys who should be in the top-six — got a microscopic amount of ice time tonight. Evgeny Kuznetsov skated just over seven minutes. Dustin Penner got six. Good players need to be on the ice.
    • The Devils started the game with 11 forwards. The Capitals took out three of them of them. Eight forwards should not beat 12 forwards. That’s math.
    • Jaroslav Halak was solid tonight, but he’s now lost five straight games. Jaro had 29 saves tonight. Braden will be in tomorrow before going into hiding for the rest of the season.
He's back! (Photo: Ian Oland)

He’s back! (Photo: Ian Oland)

Win out, hope for a biblical implosion by the Blue Jackets. That’s Washington’s only hope at this point.

Peter will be back with you tomorrow. Maybe he won’t make like 40 mistakes on Twitter like I did tonight. Then again, this is a Capitals blog.

  • Freedoooom

    Surely Oates will call out Beagle for quitting on the Carter goal. I know this.

    http://i.minus.com/i8zdddQNYyLc.gif

  • MuzzMuzzington

    This was bearable because Joe B was calling the game. Unfortunately Oates is still calling the shots, so we aren’t taking many and still generally suck.

  • Lance Perrier

    Go Kings!

  • Chris Cerullo

    I wish we hadn’t gotten those 5 points in California. This has been beaten to death already but Adam Oates might be the worst coach I have seen in a long long long long time. He rivals Cassidy. Atrocious.

  • Kuzya#92

    http://imgur.com/OOqXz
    this fuggin season

  • Myan

    Mike Green, how can you let that guy walk in, PULL THE PUCK BACK and take a clean shot on goal? That was an embarrassing effort.

  • Matt Lauer

    Holy summer fire sale Batman. This team has absolutely written the book on catastrophic ways to lose. It’s downright encyclopedic.

  • Dave

    That was some great D on the game winner by Green, who was preventing a pass to… no one.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Lets go Stars!

    Also, lets go Lumbus!

  • Kuzya#92

    [URL=http://imgur.com/OOqXz][IMG]http://i.imgur.com/OOqXz.gif[/IMG][/URL]

  • Matt Lauer

    Peter had me going for a few days that there might be some value in another postseason appearance, but now, I see no reason for it whatsoever.

  • Adam Oates

    Mojo: 18:00
    Beagle: 12:00
    Kuznetsov: 7:00
    Penner: 6:00

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    I hear the beep beep beep of life support failing with each minute. The proverbial fork has almost official stuck into the dreams of all Washington Caps fans everywhere…

  • Lawrence

    This game was full of depressing ironic season ending moments.

    1) Ovi scores the only goal.
    2) Beagle gets massive leash, despite the 2nd line looking like garbage. Also out there during the last 1 minute (even if it just to take a faceoff, idgaf, he lost it anyways).
    3) Get outplayed the entire game, (btw NJ had only 7 forwards most of the third).
    4) Oates face.
    5) Mojo can’t score a goal to save his life.
    6) The powerplay disappears.
    7) And last, but not least, Ovi looks depressed as he skates off the ice.

    I wonder who Oates will blame this time. Maybe he just chalks it up to, “It’s a hard league. We kept shots to the outside.”

    Meanwhile, GMGM has to be face-palming the entire game.

  • RESmith

    It wasn’t just Green. All the Caps on the ice just stopped skating and just stared at the puck. Embarrassing, but that about sums up the 2013-14 Caps.

  • Heidi

    I am actually somewhat glad that the Caps won’t be making the playoffs because it shows that there are flaws that need addressing rather than just sweeping them under the “we made the playoffs” rug. But..in saying that, I enjoyed about 76% of this hockey game.

  • Absolutely No One Ever

    Makes sense to me!

  • Matt Lauer

    “It’s a hard league.” hahahaha

  • Heidi

    I think Mojo would’ve scored two goals had Schneider not been so good :(

  • araporrada21

    Ahhhah

  • nicoley-poley

    the washington capitals and the infinite sadness

  • David Rothman

    Hahahaha

  • Lance Perrier

    At least Ovie will get 50. What happened to Green? He used to be a help out there, he just waved at the winner!!

  • Lawrence

    I would say you might be right, if it was anyone but MoJo. How many times have we said that about MoJo? Lol, i like the guy, don’t get me wrong, but he has less finish than Wolski.

  • Owen Johnson

    I was thinking the same thing! But don’t worry, he more than makes up for it offensively.

  • Megan

    Wow. This is really sad.

  • Stardawg

    I think the turning point for the season was Jan 25. The Caps had lost 7 straight scoring 8 goals in those 7 games. They beat the Habs 5-0 on Jan 25. If they had lost that game I think Oates would have been fired, but it saved his job and ended the Caps season.

  • Josh Carey

    It’s funny how accurate Brouwer was when he said that the Caps try to beat other teams at their own games every night. The Devils don’t give up a lot, sure, but they’re far from being dominant and even farther from the Devils of the early 2000s. It’s pathetic that the Caps can’t find a way to create scoring chances and get suckered into playing the Devils style. All the more reason for Oates to go.

    “We could really use those 10 points from earlier this season when our goalies weren’t good” – GMGM

  • @TimHanson26
  • Josh Carey

    He’d rather congratulate him for it by putting him out in the final minute.

  • Myan

    Unsurprisingly, Ovi-Backstrom-Grabo line was awesome tonight…should have gotten at least another goal if Schneider wasn’t so solid tonight. This has been a painful season but I’m still looking forward to the next 5 games and I’m excited to see what this team can be with competent coaching next season. Through thick and thin, guys!

  • VeggieTart

    Well, that’s that. I’d like to say it was a nice season, but then I try to be mostly honest.

  • Owen Johnson

    So why is our should-be 4th line playing 2nd line minutes? Why is our should-be 2nd line playing 4th line minutes?
    Oates Hockey

  • James Desautels

    Oates has to go. No reason at all with the season on the line we have top 6 guys playing garbage minutes and bottom 6 guys getting loads of ice. Not just this week, but since the return from the Olympics we’ve watched this team toil away not scoring goals. Anyone can clearly see the lines had no chemistry (3rd was exception). So who are you guys rooting for to lift the Cup? I am pumped for the Western playoffs, East mehhh.

  • Owen Johnson

    It was a season. We’ll give it that.

  • Stardawg

    I don’t like the fact that GMGM hasn’t addressed the weaknesses on defence that have been apparent for years.
    I don’t like the fact that Oates hasn’t found a way to get this team playing decent hockey.
    You can say fire the GM, fire the coach, but at some point you have to blame the players. A lot of the problems with the Caps have been present for years:
    – slow starts to games
    – bad passing
    – utterly stupid mistakes when possessing the puck
    – bad penalty killing
    – lack of commitment to the defensive side of the game
    – bad line changes
    – inability to win puck battles along the boards
    I think that they would be a better team with a different coach, but how much better? Stanley Cup better? I don’t think so.
    This team has gotten away with bad play over the years because they could score goals. The less they score the more the inept defensive play becomes apparent.
    Whether it is with a new GM or new coach, this team needs to make major personnel changes to compete for a championship. This group has shown over and over again that they don’t have what it takes.

  • Owen Johnson

    Anaheim. Gotta root for BBBB and Matty P.

  • James Desautels

    There’s more finish on the furniture at grandmas.

  • RESmith

    The way this season is ending feels like watching some large animal writhing in agony towards a slow death. It’s too large to deal with without the risk of being crushed yourself. You don’t wan to look and all you can do is pray it will end soon. For everyone’s sake.

  • Dave

    By the way, why has GMGM not extended Grabo yet? Is he also going to screw this up on his way out?

  • Owen Johnson

    When will Oates be fired? Tonight, Tonight.

  • James Desautels

    Sharks v Kings rd 1 is going to be awesome.

  • Kuzya#92
  • Owen Johnson

    But it’s Mojo. So he wouldn’t have scored them.

  • Owen Johnson

    Sorry, I’m being REALLY sarcastic tonight.

  • Guest

    I’m going for either the Flyers, Sharks or Blues. I’m not going to waste my time watching the next 5 games.

  • Seth Malaguerra

    Nailed it! In all seriousness though, fire everyone responsible for what was on display tonight.

  • Optimist but not really

    Hey at least we’ll get the 15th pick or whatever, right? Lol I hate my life.

  • Bilal

    yup

    GO SHARKS

  • Owen Johnson

    WHY THE HELL ARE YOU ROOTING FOR THE FLYERS?!?!?!?!

  • Bilal

    Your root for the Flyers and we’ll skin you alive

  • yv
  • Marky Narc

    At first I was all “I ain’t gonna watch this game”, but then I watched the entire thing. And I’m going to watch all the rest of the games this season. You know why?

    They might be the last ones Alex Ovechkin plays as a Washington Capital. I mean, I’m anticipating both George McPhee and Adam Oates to be relieved of their duties; whoever they bring in next is going to want to remold the team however they want it to be. Maybe Ovi fits into that, maybe not. Ovi is McPhee’s pet project, if someone different is at the helm, they may not be so attached.

    Who knows? Anything’s possible. Enjoy the rest of the season.

  • Josh Carey

    GMGM just thinks defense is overrated since the Caps scored nearly 4 goals a game under Boudreau. I’m not sure it has hit him that the team now is in fact, not scoring nearly 4 goals per game and thus needs a defense.

  • Matt Lauer

    Feels like we haven’t been a contender since 1979.

  • Josh Carey

    NOOOOOOOO. GO BLUES!!!

  • RESmith

    He had no choice. He is the only reliable face-off player on our team, which is just sad in its own fact.

  • Veloj

    All those who like the Flyers hit ALT+F4

  • 08Ovi

    They are talking according to the source, grabo’s dad.

  • Guest

    Penner is a lazy bum. That’s good he only has 1 year left, not 3 like Erat.

  • Owen Johnson

    We’re only getting Thirty-Three percent of our standing points.

  • Guest

    I like they’re style. I have to admit, they’re a fun team to watch.

  • Veloj

    you forgot to mention the smell. like a rotting carcass washed up on the beach on a hot July day that stinks up the whole village

  • Jonah

    This name is easily the only thing I’ll be happy about tonight.

  • Matt Lauer

    Despite all my rage I am still just…. a Caps fan

  • Scott

    In defense of Oates (whom I think ultimately needs to be replaced, but just food for thought):

    The bottom line in sports is that fans love a winner, particularly if they are accustomed to having one, and inevitably start clamoring for change when things go south. The degree of parity in hockey is so great that the difference between a Cup contender and a team that misses the playoffs can come down to things beyond a coach’s control (injuries, for example, or trades driven by salary cap considerations) or even simple random variation. Put differently, small variations in performance can produce significant difference in results. Think about it: if the Caps turn five one-goal regulation losses in to regulation wins – just five – then they are tied with the Rangers for second in the division. Maybe Oates stops switching goalies and shuffling lines. Maybe the players stop looking like they’re afraid to lose every time they step on the ice. And all of this from a mere five-point swing in goal differential.

    Little things add up over the course of a long regular season; it’s easy to say a coach or general manager is ultimately responsible for the product on the ice, but coaching is hard. Imagine having to do major repairs on a boat without being able to put into dry-dock. There is only so much you can do, especially if you are a new coach who hasn’t been to the rodeo before. It’s one thing to live it as a player but something else entirely to manage. It’s not out of the question – indeed, it is probable – that Oates is in over his head and is frantically trying to figure out how the hell to turn things around. It must be hard to learn when you think you know what works, only suddenly it doesn’t, and you have 48 or 72 hours until the next game to figure it out.

    My evolving take on this season is that the Caps are some combination of tactically and strategically mismanaged (at the coach and assistant coach level), poorly husbanded (at the GM level), and snake-bit. Given the transparent ineptitude on display at various times, I am unwilling to write off the team’s challenges as mere random variation, but it’s worth remembering that sometimes teams just lose. It’s obvious that the current group has next to zero chemistry on the ice. Is this a transient phenomenon? Is it Oates’s fault? The players?

    It’s also hard for diehard fans to blame the players when the players are personable, hard working, and colorful. Add that Oates was beloved as a player not so long ago and it is easy to see why this season has been a maddening emotional rollercoaster for the Caps faithful.

  • Dave

    Yeah, I know they started talking in January. Has that been ongoing for 3 months??

  • Josh Carey

    He did have a choice. Brouwer and Fehr are both over 50% this season, and righties. Backstrom was also 64% tonight. Oh, and what was Beagle tonight? A staggering 25%.

    Like Owen said below, Oates must have thought his offensive prowess would benefit the Caps in the final minute.

  • Heidi

    Not sure why you’re bringing up Finish…Mojo is definitely Swedish :)

  • Bilal

    I mean, it probably got delayed when he got injured, and during the olympics. They probably wanted to make sure he was still playing well after the injury to sign him. Then again, GMGM will probably not sign Grabo anyways and give MoJo 9 year, 9 million dollar contract……..

  • Seth Malaguerra

    I’m not a Boudreau apologist. The players had tuned him out, and when that happens the coach has to go. But the fact that two straight coaches haven’t come close to what Boudreau achieved means that it’s time to “fire” some of the players.

  • Veloj

    fire sale implies the GM realizes there’s no hope to make the playoffs and gets rid of worthy players to get something for them at the trade deadline. GMGM thinks this team seriously is a contender, and will gladly let players leave for nothing in return. And/or will get players that the coach will let languish on 4th line or as healthy scratches so their value goes down to nothing

  • Owen Johnson

    Yeah, But Oates also has shown a certain amount of ineptitude.

  • Seth Malaguerra

    Oh Oates is totally in over his head as HC. I’m saying that the old mantra of “you have to fire the coach, because you can’t fire the players” has to change this summer for things to turn around for the team.

  • Owen Johnson

    Yeah, watching hockey players do things that would otherwise put them in jail is FUN!!!
    https://twitter.com/ianoland/status/441386238226870273/photo/1

  • Veloj

    + the fact that Boudreau turned around his new team just like he did the Caps in ’07, and again has them competing for the President’s Trophy

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    #AtleastJoeBwasback

  • Myan

    I am genuinely worried that Grabo is not going to want to stay in Washington. His agent recently said that his priority is winning a Stanley Cup and when the reporter asked if he thought that Washington was a place where that could happen, his agent just said “we’ll see.” To me, it’s an indication that Grabo wants to wait until the end of the season to see if Oates gets the ax. If Oates stays, I have a strong feeling that Grabo will go elsewhere.

    http://www.csnwashington.com/hockey-washington-capitals/talk/agent-grabo-wants-win-stanley-cup

  • RESmith

    You are right. A new coach or GM isn’t going to solve the chemistry problems. Not defending him, but Oates made a veiled reference to this in his Wednesday press conference. This core seems too over-confident in their skill set that can’t be patient and just make the simple plays (which is what wins games.) You can employ whatever system you want, but until they learn to do that, it is never going to bear out.

    That being said I am still excited about the younger core of players we have coming along in Kuzya (really been impressed by his positional play), Wilson, Barber, Orlov, Burakovsky, and Bowey. There is still some hope but it might be a few years away. He wouldn’t admit it publicly, but McPhee knew this was going to be a down year and was starting the transition to free up space for that younger core in the future.

  • DJ Jones

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Why are we to believe this team will win?

    Ovi, Backy, Mojo, Brouwer, Laich, Fehr, Ward, Chimera, Beagle, Green, Alzner, Carlson, Erskine have been losing and getting this team nowhere since ’11-12 season. That’s 3 forward and 2 defensive lines. Yes they went to the playoffs then but they still lost.

    How do these guys not have chemistry with each other still? Backy and Ovi only. Mojo has been worth what this season? Green had yet another front row seat to a goal tonight.

    I don’t understand how a team gets beat by 8 forwards. They should have been gassed but they kept play in the Caps end with no trouble.

    Honestly after this season, the majority of the players need to be evaluated, the Dallas Stars game seemed kinder than this game, 8 forwards!

  • Dave

    Thanks for the link. To some extent, I think the agent is just using agent-speak to posture a bit. On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that some changes are coming, so at this point Grabo may want to wait to see whose coaching next season (like you suggest), and whether it looks like they are rebuilding or pushing to contend.

  • Seth Malaguerra

    The punchline to this joke of a season? The Caps roster is spent to the cap. #FireGMGM

  • DJ Jones

    Wait are you saying that some of these players, who still reside from BB/Hunters days needs to go? Smart thinking. Same 9 forwards and 4 defenseman since ’11-12, and it has yielded what?

  • Owen Johnson

    Who is Joe Bwasback?

  • RESmith

    Brouwer would have made sense, but I’m sure Oates’ reasoning was he wasn’t a center. Actually, like most have said here, I given up in figuring out Oates’ reasoning.

  • Roy Schue

    Anything is possible, your right. But to call the league’s most prolific goal scorer a “pet project” is just a rediculous statement

  • Lawrence

    Mistakes like this wouldn’t seem so bad if we were capable of putting the puck in the back of the net. We get stomped all game, no puck control, even against a team that ran 7 forwards in the third. #Oates&GMGMhockey

  • RESmith

    Yeah, you have a point. I take that one back. This depression is making me try to cling to whatever shred of rationale I can find.

  • Myan

    Yeah you’re right. I was just in a state of…something…and I needed someone to blame. Green was just…there.

  • Myan

    I’m going for ANYONE but the Flyers. And the Rangers. And Pittsburgh. F&#@ those guys.

  • Seth Malaguerra

    There’s only one player on this Caps’ roster who has a harder time than MaJo at hitting an open net, and that’s Jay Beagle.

  • Seth Malaguerra

    So go Pittsburgh?

  • Guest
  • Steven Lemmeyer

    I just…I can’t deal with this question regardless of possible sarcasm. http://gifs.gifbin.com/062009/1245227615_colin_farrel.gif

  • Myan

    Noo! I edited this when I realized that I forgot Pittsburgh on that list!

  • Q

    This is why we can’t have nice things!

  • sad(((((

    I wonder what the narrative would be if Alex Ovechkin wasn’t captain

  • RESmith

    You’ve just aptly described what May and June will feel like.

  • Seth Malaguerra

    So much quit!

  • RESmith

    It seems like everyone is sharing in that state of feeling tonight.

  • Owen Johnson

    USA! USA! USA! (is in a really tough group)
    #BeatGhana

  • Seth Malaguerra

    “It’s time to make Alex Ovechkin captain. He’s the leading scorer, and the heart and soul of this team.”

  • RESmith

    “Isn’t that your man?” “No, I thought that was your man.” “Hey, you two! Who man is that?” “Ummm….” “No wait!!” “Crap!”

  • JenniferH

    I got nothin.’

  • Seth Malaguerra

    All the players reside from the GMGM era.

  • Capper63

    It is not the same.
    The other play Whitney and cap player (nameless) were the last 2 men into the Cap D-zone. All the other players were already engaged. Last cap in needed to cover the trailer, and was in front of the trailer, and he just let his man go right past and straight up the crease.
    This play Beagle goes for the pass and misses, losing his momentum, but has 2 defenders still behind the play, completely unengaged. The only thing Beagle could have done was to hook from behind for 2:00 penalty, which would not be a smart play since it was a 1 on 2, with one Devil and 2 caps trailing for a 2 on 4.

  • Seth Malaguerra
  • Capper63

    Pretty much captures it perfectly!

  • Marky Narc

    I wasn’t sure how to phrase it. Maybe it came out wrong. What I meant was Ovi was drafted by GMGM, and thus the latter may have a bigger attachment to the former than some new general manager. Hopefully that makes more sense.

  • DJ Jones

    Aha even better point

  • OlietheGoalie

    Good. Now it’s time for management to -hopefully- shake things up.

  • OlietheGoalie

    What?

  • OlietheGoalie

    I’d listen to that mash up album.

  • Matt Lauer

    Ugh you said it.

  • VeggieTart

    How can you tell? He gets fewer minutes than Tom Wilson!

  • Seth Malaguerra

    False. Now it’s time to fire the management.

  • VeggieTart

    I heard that his father indicates it’s pretty close.

  • VeggieTart

    A certain amount? He’s shown a fuckton of ineptitude.

  • VeggieTart

    That’s who I’m rooting for. I lived in San Jose for a few years back in the 1990s. I became a hockey fan there, so they will always have a special place in my heart. Even if they are the Capitals of the West.

  • Owen Johnson
  • Owen Johnson

    Honestly, after the run-ins this season, I’d root for the Pens before I root for the Flyers.
    I’d root for any non-Pennsylvania NHL team over them though.

  • Owen Johnson

    A “fuckton” is a “certain amount.”
    Also, thanks for helping me name my new Simcity town.

  • Oates blows

    Can everyone stop blaming GMGM for our bad luck?! Last year he blew it with Erat. This year he got us Halak, Penner, and Chris Brown. With Penner and Halak he was giving us a shot at running for the cup. With brown we get a solid prospect. Oates has caused so much crap. Kuzy, Wilson, and Penner all chillin on 4th line. That’s just shit. Doesn’t matter how inexperienced they are, you play them if they are your better players(Kuzy/Penner). Oates could’ve been great but he truly sucks

  • Capper63

    I got to excuse Alzner on this as well. He was shadowing his man (17). It was all (Game over) Green.

  • Ben Reed

    “Good players need to be on the ice.”

    Wait. What?

  • Ben Reed

    Can “Absolutely No One Ever” be a recurring thing?

  • John M

    Indeed. Go Bruins. Or anyone in the West. Ducks?

  • Owen Johnson

    Go BBBB and Matty P!!!

  • Fashi13

    You like their style?!?! Get the fuck outta here…..you can’t be a Caps fan and pull for the Flyers, Pens, Rags, isles, or Devils……..Ever. I’ve always been a blues fan as they were very similar to the Caps with the extended playoff streak that led to fuck all.

  • Austin

    Lol no Ovie isn’t leaving Washington I can guarantee these next few games will not be his last as a capital but they may be the last for a few players and GMGM

  • Austin

    Yo fuck that.

    Broad street can burn in hell.

    I even declined going to Temple for college when I found out it was in Philly

    Holy fuck I hate the flyers more than any other sport team

  • Rob Young

    No player in his right mind is going to want to sign in DC, as long as Oats is coach. You could easily be a #1 center and get stuck on the 4th line. Or at least this coach will tank the team and give you absolutely no chance at a cup.

  • Rob Young

    GMGM seems to be pretty good at getting the players. But his coaching choices (expect Boudreau) have all been really bad. He can’t be trusted to hire a coach. He has to go, or else, someone else has to be put in charge of coach recruitment. And if Oats doesn’t go at the end of this season, I won’t watch another game.

  • Capper63

    Has anything changed to make him a hot commodity?
    He wasn’t really sought after last year, and took a one-year “prove it” type contract, and then spent much of the year injured. Did he “prove it?” I really don’t think so.
    Montreal and Toronto could not wait to get rid off him. I would think if we are treating him well and he likes it here, we could get him to re-sign for a reasonable amount.
    I am just a little doubtful that he will have his choice of any team at the salary he will probably want.

  • Eric Schulz

    Well, Montreal dumped him before he had developing into even close to the player he is; Toronto dumped him because they have the dumbest front office in the NHL. However, I’d agree that this year hasn’t helped him a lot. I would agree that we can resign him, and we may even be able to get a nice deal on him… I’d hope something like $3.5 for 3 years… the only problem I see is, as some others have said, he’s probably not happy with the front office (I think the GM is the bigger problem, but the coach is the more obvious problem to the players). I am hopeful that, with a new GM/coach, he comes back as long as we don’t blow it.

  • Eric Schulz

    The problem isn’t the guys we had then.. the problem is the guys we’ve surrounded them with. What type of defender, in a perfect world, would you pair Mike Green-in-his-prime with? I’m guessing you didn’t say an undersized, raw puck-mover.

  • Eric Schulz

    GMGM blew it with Forsberg… which was bad on 6 levels; that trade typified why he can no longer continue to be employed as the GM of this team: not even being able to identify the problem areas on the team means you have just about a 0% chance of addressing it. Also, GMGM hired Oates. GMGM is the bigger problem.

  • Eric Schulz

    He’s fine, ish, at getting the core; it was relatively easy (Ovechkin was a no-brainer, Backstrom was close to it), but he did a good job of it. Supplementing them is the problem (as is, as you said, hiring a coach). He has given us a nice core for the next GM to take over; it won’t be hard to make this team a legit contender. We can easily see a scenario in which we jump back to contention NEXT YEAR. GMGM deserves credit for that, sure… but his failure is not only in hiring a coach; he addressed GOALIE at the deadline, and we didn’t get a SINGLE defender.. never forget, our defense is just fine in his mind.

  • Eric Schulz

    If new management thinks that Ovechkin isn’t a HUGE part of our future, then they will be just as much of a disaster as Oates was, and GMGM was. He’s the best winger in the league, the best goal scorer, the best power forward, the most dominant player. Yes, he’s not a great defender; he’s only one player. Get some guys who can play defense… preferably ones who actually play defense. I assume the next GM will think one defender who is above average at DEFENSE is not enough.

  • JenniferH

    That was when I began my fire Oates chant, but I was accused of just being a bitter Holtby-fangirl (OK, fine, admittedly that did have something to do with it, I will not lie), but the writing was on the wall. All of the problems were just so there. It’s like I said in an earlier thread, many of us have certain players who are metaphors for Oates horrible coaching, it’s Erat for some, Beagle for others, Wilson, etc. For me, it’s Holtby. And that string of losses and all of the problems that led to those losses along with the 3-headed goalie monstrosity just made me lose all faith in Oates. Nothing he’s done since has done anything to help gain any of it back.

  • JenniferH

    I believe I figured out Oates’ reasoning tonight: If it doesn’t make sense to everyone else… do it! That is the game plan of Adam Oates.

  • JenniferH

    Halak is doing good, but he is no more giving us a shot at the cup than Holtby would be were he in the net more. I am sorry about our losses, but if nothing else, this last batch of games has shown UNDENIABLY that goaltending was NOT the problem. Contrary to GMGM’s stupid statement, we would NOT be 10 points ahead with different goatlending. We’ve lost 5 games with Halak (who’s been doing a fine job), just like we lost many games under Holtby (who did and does a fine job). Our defense, our offense is the problem. NOT goaltending.

  • JenniferH

    Clearly not part of the Oates system.

  • Pavel

    Can’t like your comments enough times!

  • Chris

    This is much much more then just an Oates problem, sorry everyone.

  • the_jen

    Heh. You’re the Holtby fangirl, I’m the Halak fangirl. They both make mistakes, but I agree wholeheartedly that the Caps’ issue before was not goaltending.

  • the_jen

    I won’t disagree with ya there. ;)

  • Sarah

    Agree. Also, “goatlending” is the best typo ever. Livestock trading = new career for GMGM?

  • Marky Narc

    I’m glad you have that level of optimism. I hope you are right, because I don’t want to see him moved, either.

  • Marky Narc

    I hope so. For the record, I don’t want Ovi to be moved. All I’m saying is if a whole new management team comes in (which I would like to have happen), all assets become movable at the right price, even ones the previous regime deemed not to be traded.

  • Hockey mom

    I do agree with you….all calls for changes may yield some hard ones to swallow will come. That COULD mean the Great 8 goes. Anyone remember Joe Montana? If anyone was the face of the 49ers, it was THAT dude. So much so that even YEARS later when they had him in a Superbowl commercial it was his 49ers jersey they featured, not his KC Chiefs jersey.

    Anyhow, the gist of this is that at some points, teams have to make hard choices about where they are heading and sometimes they let go of guys, even the great ones, that got them to where they are if don’t fit into the future of the team.

    Anyone calling for GM and Oates to go have to realize that losing Ovechkin IS a POSSIBILITY, and maybe even a good possibility.

  • Hockey mom

    Olesky is my guy and I’m telling you the last game he played was right before that seven game skid. He was benched a few times before he was sent down mid-late Jan. There was some mental and or behind the scenes momentum shift that started back then and they never fully got back on track.

  • bskillet

    Kuznetsov, Burakovsky and some D Schmidt? Carrick? Orlov, I’m ready for October…oh and a GM and new trio behind the bench.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Ovi ain’t going anywhere. And don’t let any idiot in the media convince you otherwise.

  • VeggieTart

    What’s especially depressing is that San Jose game is the last one the Caps won.

  • VeggieTart

    Well, “certain amount” is an understatement. There is no exaggerating just how inept the coaching staff has been this year.

  • Marky Narc

    Nobody’s convinced me of anything.

  • bggb

    There’s no evidence either of last two coaches have any business being anywhere near an NHL bench.

    For me that changes how critical my eye is towards the players.

    Obviously this roster isn’t good enough, and neither is Ovechkin’s defense.

    But all of that is trumped by just how inept Adam Oates is.

  • bggb

    Who is blaming GMGM for bad luck?

    People are rightly criticizing him for being one of many people responsible for this shitshow of a season and the team’s inability to win a 2nd round series in like 13 years.

    GMGM is the one who hired Oates.

  • Myan

    According to reports he’s looking for $5m a year but I don’t think he’ll get that anywhere considering that he’s missed more than 20 games this season. He won’t have his choice of teams at that price but if he lowered it to about $4m he’d probably have his pick from 2 or 3 teams outside of DC. I keep getting this sinking feeling that he’ll end up in Vancouver…they’re most likely moving Kesler this summer and they have more than $14m in cap available today. I hope I’m wrong.

  • Pat Magee

    Of course T-Wils belongs in the top 6, but who is he gonna replace?

  • RESmith

    I am not sure if “unengaged” is the right word here. You are correct. Alzner is up to shadow 17 and takes away 17 ‘s lane to the net to drive for the rebound. I’m sure his thinking was that between Beagle and Green one of them would take Carter. (And to Alzner’s credit he does try to skate to Carter once he sees him gain position past Beagle but it is too much ice to cover.)

    I my opinion, it was a series of bad reads by three Caps. If you watch, Green seems to have eyed the Devil waiting at the far blueline near the bench. Brouwer skates in and waves him off like “like I’ve got the guy” but then doesn’t even bother to take up position on that Devils player and just continues to coast in to the zone. Meanwhile, you are right, Beagle was trying to take away the pass from Zidlicky but his focus is too much on Zidlicky that he easily allows Carter to gain position on him and skate on by. The problem is MaJo is already up to put some pressure to disrupt the pass, which then puts the onus on Beagle to keep his focus on Carter and not allow him to gain position and jump pass into the lane. Kind of like a cornerback in football. Yes, you want to get between the receiver and the ball to disrupt the pass but your first focus is to close down the gap. Which Beagle didn’t do.
    It is then Green’s fault for getting caught in dead ice with Brouwer waving him off his original read and putting too much faith Beagle holding position on Carter. He literally is caught flat footed as it hard to stop, pivot off his left foot and skate forward towards Carter in enough time to engage him.

    That being said, you are right, Halak still should have had that shot. An unscreened wrister like that should be routine.

    However, if you have to fault one guy, for me it would be Beagle. If plays Carter instead of the puck and the lane, that plays gets either broken up and goes back to neutral ice or Zidlicky dumps it in instead of the pass.

  • RESmith

    For all of our pending UFAs, with the way the end of the season is unfolding, their first priority is going to be elsewhere. Even a new coach and/or GM still means uncertainty and that not what most of these guys want at this point in their careers.

  • Guest

    I am just mystified by how Oates chooses to play goaltenders. B2Bs, the whole December Disaster, picking up Halak at deadline when goaltending was NEVER the problem. And granted, he’s trade-bait come summer, but making him your de facto starter, and relegating Holtby to his backup? Way to alienate one of your loyal, solid players.
    If I were Holtby, I’d be screaming for a trade. He actually has potential, but it’s wasted on this team.
    (I feel the same way about both Backstrom and Ovi, to be honest…if Alex Ovechkin retires as a Capital (which I expect he will) without ever winning a Cup, it’ll be one of the most criminal misuses of a player in NHL history.)

  • Myan

    Why are you trying to make me cry on this beautiful Saturday? :(

  • Guest

    Is this potentially a case of “pay your dues”? I mean that’s an unbelievably stupid way of coaching a team of pros (your job is to win, not to make everybody feel good by not promoting new talent right away…). But I can see that rationale. Kuzya is clearly a 2nd line guy based on what we’ve seen (and probably has 1st line talent, tbh). Is he relegated to the 4th just because he’s new?

  • Grant

    I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about the upcoming “Hot Stick” celebration. Hopefully it comes in the game that mathematically eliminates the Caps from the playoffs. That’ll really stick it to Oates, bring on the next coach, maybe somebody who knows how to treat OV right!

  • Matt Lauer

    [Vomits explosively]

  • Matt Lauer

    The Forsberg trade still sends me into convulsions.

  • RESmith

    Sorry.