obi-speaks

Photo: Chris Gordon

On Monday, the Washington Capitals held Breakdown Day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. For two hours, Caps players filed out of the locker room and conducted exit interviews with the media. Because of the whole no playoffs thing, there were a lot of long faces.

There’s about three hours of interview video to surf though on Monumental Network. Because I hate myself and care only about you, dear reader, I’ve transcribed all the key quotes. And because this is RMNB, I also pointed out the fashion choices. Sadly, there was no crazy hair this year.

Alex Ovechkin

ovi-speaks2

Photo: @PuckBuddys

A dour Alex Ovechkin, wearing a white Nike shirt (without a catchy slogan like last year), addressed the media for 12 minutes. He lamented his plus-minus and told the media to stop comparing the team to four years ago. “It’s not the same team,” he said. Ovechkin also said he’s “never going to ask for a trade” and that he wants to “bring a Cup here.” When asked if he’s still having fun playing hockey, he replied with a long face, “Yeah.”

Key Quote:

“If you remember when Hunter was here and I didn’t score goals, you guys said, ‘Why don’t you score goals?’ I said, ‘My job to block shots’. Whole world say, ‘Ovi stop playing what he used to play, he’s gone. We never going to see him again.’ I don’t want to turn my back on this kind of position again. I get paid to score goals. I scored 50. You can’t point [at] one guy in position, say he didn’t do his job. Look at everybody’s numbers. Watch the video and everybody have a bad year.”


Mike Green

mike-green

Photo: @SkyKerstein

Male fashion model and part-time hockey player Mike Green revealed that he “fractured, cracked – whatever you wanna call it – a rib” and it “crippled” him at the end of the season. Poor guy. He finished the season as the team’s best possession player. Green, wearing some kind of fancy blue dress shirt and perfect hair, seemed disappointed about missing the playoffs. “This is the first time in my career here we haven’t made [it],” Green said. “It’s definitely an odd feeling for sure. We all play for one reason, to give ourselves a chance to win a Stanley Cup, and we fell short.

Key Quote:

“We had a lot of guys in and out of the line-up. The most partners I’ve ever had in a season. It was tough to catch our ground and run with it. I think [defense] is an area we really needed to hone in on – especially in this league. You can score as many goals as you want, but if you’re not strong defensively, it’s tough to win. I think as players we could have been a lot of better.”


Braden Holtby

braden-holtby

Photo: @MonumentalNtwrk

The Holtbeast, rocking a black Jimi Hendrix shirt and a new haircut many of our readers are struggling with, admitted that the technique changes he was asked by the coaching staff to make during the season were the source of his struggles. “Olie and I have been on the same page since day one,” Holtby countered. “He’s been keeping me sane through everything. We talk about everything and we realized that we had to get back to where my natural instincts led me.” At the end of the year, Holtby played well and returned to previous form.

Key Quote:

“It’s obviously been well documented the changes we’ve tried. Nothing against the philosophy of the changes, I think [my struggles] had to do with my natural instincts didn’t quite coincide with the changes. That led to a lot of second guessing myself and over-thinking things. When you start doing that, you start to struggle. When you struggle, obviously your confidence goes down a bit. That’s kinda what happened, but it’s something to learn from. The lesson I’ve learned this year is how to battle with that adversity.”


Nicklas Backstrom

nicklas-backstrom-breakdown-day

Photo: @PuckBuddys

Nicklas Backstrom, wearing a red hat backwards, which made him look approximately 7-years-old, addressed the media for nearly ten minutes in a hushed tone. “I think we can improve in every area,” Backstrom said, when asked what the team’s struggles were. “Everyone has to be better. As players, we weren’t good enough this year. That’s why we missed the playoffs.” When asked by CSN’s Chuck Gormley if the team needs to make a change to improve, Backstrom said, “That’s a tough question right there. The coaches have their structure and system, but we as players didn’t execute. We’re trying to play as we’re told, but we weren’t good enough.” In regards to the first line’s even strength issues, Backstrom said, “We’re too much minus. We were on the ice for a lot of goals.”

Key Quote:

“I haven’t been in this situation before, so I’ll stay tough, but we gotta improve. We gotta be better. We weren’t good enough this year.”


Brooks Laich

brooks-laich

Photo: @PuckBuddys

Brooks Laich, wearing a black Izod Lacoste shirt that your dad will wear to Easter dinner, talked to anyone who would listen to him. He reminded us that he still feels “mentally and physically liberated” after his groin surgery but added, “I’m still not ready to play.” He also did not pass his exit physical. Laich stirred up some controversy when he said, “The closest we were to winning a Stanley Cup was with Dale Hunter.” Ballsy, and incorrect.

Key Quote:

“With my whole heart, I believe that I will be 100% and ready to resume my career and excel at the game, not just participate, come training camp. I believe that with my whole heart.”


Eric Fehr

eric-fehr

Photo: @PuckBuddys

Eric Fehr, wearing a low-key, grey zip up hoodie, posed with fans before entering Kettler and then spoke briefly to the media about what he thought the team’s problems are. “We just need to do a better job sticking together as a team,” Fehr said. “I think at times, we’ve spread out too much and we’re not supporting each other. Just making it a lot tougher on ourselves than it needs to be.”

Key Quote:

“We need to be a little bit more aware of where we are on the ice, especially in the D-zone. Our team is going to be a better offensive team by making better defensive plays. It’s not just keeping pucks out of the net, it’s getting pucks out of our end faster, spending more time in the offensive end.”


Troy Brouwer

troy-brouwer

Photo: @WashCaps

Troy Brouwer, wearing a Caps hat and looking super buff in a v-neck button-down grey thing, believed “situational play” was the Caps biggest weakness this season. After scoring a career-high 25 goals, Brouwer gave a vote of confidence to the coaching staff, saying “we believe George will be our GM and Oatesy will be our coach next season.” He also disagreed with Laich’s claim that Dale Hunter’s system was best for the team. It’s “very taxing on the body,” he explained. “We’re so close” to being a good team. “It’s such a fine line.”

Key Quote:

“I think where our problems really hurt us is the situational play within a game. Whether we’re late in the game and trying to protect a lead, we don’t need to score more goals. We don’t need to try and dangle at the blue line and turn pucks over and spend more time in our own zone. We have to make it tough on other teams. Getting pucks deep, making sure other teams are expending a lot of energy trying to get back into the game. That’s where we really need to clean up our game.”


Tom Wilson

tom-wilson

Photo: @PuckBuddys

Tom Wilson, who came dressed for an evening on Martha’s Vineyard wearing a t-shirt, seersucker shorts, and flip flops, reflected on his rookie year. He didn’t want to compare it to expectations, saying he had none. He was just happy to get into an NHL lineup. While Wilson didn’t get a lot of playing time, he said sitting on the bench and learning from NHL players and coaches was valuable to his development. However, maybe he shouldn’t have punched guys in the face so much.

Key Quote:

On fighting so much: “Honestly I don’t think that’s what [the coaching staff] wanted.”


Dustin Penner

dustin-penner

Photo: @Chris_Gordon

Dustin Penner, who didn’t contribute much to the Caps after being acquired by George McPhee, was his normal self: awkwardly telling jokes that sometimes were kind of funny, I guess. Wearing an Under Armour hat and a white t-shirt, Penner said he’d be open re-signing with the Caps because, “I need a job next year.”

Key Quote:

“We didn’t make the playoffs, and we didn’t win four rounds in the playoffs.”


Karl Alzner

karl-alzner

Photo: @SkyKerstein

A very colorful Karl Alzner wearing clothes I can’t even begin to describe, thought the Capitals were plagued by inconsistency all year. “We talked about this the last couple of days,” Alzner said. “Just about having so many close games and finding different ways to lose them: overtime, shootout. I think inconsistency was our biggest issue.” He also thought the team didn’t really have an identity.

Key Quote:

“We weren’t quite there to be a high-powered offensive team. We weren’t quite there to be a strictly defense, shut-them-down team. We weren’t quite there to be a grind ‘em out and make ‘em really work for it [team]. We were little bits and pieces of everything. Maybe next year we need to focus more on one aspect and really nail that down as our identity. “


Marcus Johansson

marcus-johansson

Photo: @SkyKerstein

Marcus Johansson was typically Swedish: simple, tasteful, and without movement of his left arm. Mojo talked about Washington’s struggles at even-strength before everyone deserted after two minutes when some guy named Alex walked to the podium.

Key Quote:

“We didn’t end it like we wanted at all. It sucks. You wanna win. That’s why we’re here.”


Joel Ward

joel-ward2

Photo: @cnichols14

Joel Ward, wearing a fitted hat and white t-shirt, reflected on his career year as well as the Caps’ disappointing finish. Ward pointed to the the Caps losing so many two-goal leads as the team’s biggest problem. “It wasn’t like we were getting our ass kicked,” Ward said. “I would really like to look up that stat. I’d say if we could cut that [number] down to half at least, [we would have made the playoffs].” Ward, whose third line was the best trio all year, thinks they can play even better next season. “We’re ready to come back with the same mindset, stay hungry and finish a little bit more if we can.”

Key Quote:

“From being stuck in the bathroom and scoring 20 goals, I’ve had a few ups and downs.”


Jay Beagle

jay-beagle

Photo: @IgorKleyner

Jay Beagle was the resident redneck skater boy, wearing a camo Fox hat, a Volcom shirt, and DCs. He reflected on his time up and down the lineup and how Adam Oates had helped improve his game. Beags is totally #TeamOates. It’s not hard to imagine why.

Key Quote:

“It was fun [to center Ovi]. It’s an opportunity not many people get to have, to play with one of the greatest goal scorers in the league. It was an opportunity I wanted to run with, to absorb, and play my hardest. Just make sure I don’t let an opportunity go to waste.”


Dmitry Orlov

dmitry-orlov

Photo: @IgorKleyner

Dmitry Orlov, wearing a gold chain and white t-shirt, spoke with the media for one minute in English and he probably summed up the season better than any other player. RMNB’s Igor Kleyner spoke to Orlov in Russian and will share his interview in the next day or two.

Key Quote:

“Sometimes we maybe had bad luck. Sometimes good luck. Sometimes maybe we don’t work hard or something. Everybody knows. Hopefully we’ll play better next season and make playoffs.”


Connor Carrick

connor-carrick

Photo: @cnichols14

Connor Carrick, rocking a salmon colored zip-up hoodie, was positive about his rookie season. “I’m much more ready for whatever next year brings,” Carrick added. When a reporter accidentally interrupted him while he spoke, the media member apologized, and Carrick responded, “You’re good, I talk a lot.” Love this guy, though Qdoba > Chipotle.

Key Quote:

“I feel like I aged ten years this [season].”


Jaroslav Halak

jaro-halak

Photo: @MonumentalNtwrk

Jaroslav Halak, wearing an angry scowl, said he might come back next year, though hopefully he’s just joking.

Key Quote:

“You play 82 games to make the playoffs, and that’s when the fun starts. Unfortunately, we couldn’t reach the goal.”


Jack Hillen

jack-hillen

Wearing a rugged beard, Jack Hillen revealed to The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera that he suffered a concussion from his collision with Alex Ovechkin. He is still not symptom-free. “Next year I just want to be healthy,” Hillen said.

Key Quote:

“It’s nothing to do with the system. Blame the players. Blame me for not being healthy. Blame all sorts of things. It’s not the coaches’ fault for us not making the playoffs this year.”

Additional reporting by Chris Gordon.

  • Julie Fainberg

    Wardo wins the quote contest, “From being stuck in the bathroom and scoring 20 goals, I’ve had a few ups and downs” #FreeWardo

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

    How many times are you going to trick me into clicking on that Mike Green hair link?? All of them. That’s how many.

  • Diller M

    I really like Jack Hillen, but he’s totally wrong, it was the coaches, it was the system.

  • Alli S.

    I feel really bad for Mojo. I was at the game vs the Hawks and saw him get hit by Backstrom’s shot. As soon as I saw, I knew he was gonna be out of at least the rest of that game. Dude even dropped his stick and the ref had to grab it.
    ( Also, I forgot about Greene’s hair from last year and laughed hysterically in my office when I clicked on the link.)

  • Myan

    “We need to execute” seems to be the common theme. For the most part, this group of players has stayed in tact through multiple coaching changes and they’ve shown that they can execute systems. If they’re all suddenly struggling to consistently execute a system through 82 games, then to me, it’s the wrong system.

  • Hulk Hogan

    2014 definitely wasn’t the year where Greenie had the most amount of partners. Bro is settled down now and getting married this summer!

  • Shaun Phillips

    With Laich not passing his physical, any ramifications for the offseason from that? Can he be bought out, traded, etc?

  • Myan

    Brooks Laich is wearing Lacoste, not Izod. Izod is a penguin so it’s probably good that he steered clear of that.

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

    This is my fault. I misled Ian, who is ALSO awful at fashion.

  • James Hare

    If he’s on LTIR he can’t be bought out.

  • VeggieTart

    I fully agree with that, but either Hillen is too classy to throw the coaches under the bus (even though a certain coach doesn’t have any scruples about throwing his players under the bus) or he knows better than to trash the coaches as long as they are still employed by the team.

    As for Laich’s comment about Hunter, it maybe wasn’t the closest, but one icing by John Carlson and one bad high stick by Joel Ward were pretty much all that stood between the Caps and the conference finals.

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

    To be fair, Hillen played in like 10 games this year, so he has no idea what the problems are. And they mostly won when he played.

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

    SPEAK FOR YOURSELF. I am currently wearing a grey Calvin Klein zip-up hoodie, free t-shirt from UMBC, and jeans. Total stud.

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

    It still makes me laugh. I’ve seen that photo a million times. Makes me crack up every. time.

  • Fedor

    And I buy most of my clothes at O’Stin. It’s a Russian outlet selling cheap (very cheap) Chinese clothes mostly for office wearing.

  • Lawrence

    Loved the interview from ovechkin (not so much what he said, but the fact he opened up a bit). I saw some people were upset with this interview, saying he is blaming teammates. To me it’s very clear that he is just defeated. The media backlash over the years and his lack of team success has really gotten to him these last few years. He is probably thinking its hopeless on the caps. Real interesting to see him talk about his future here, for the first time he may actually consider the possibility of him leaving if he has no cup in 3-4 odd years (granted that is still a while away).

    I guess what I am saying is that after all his career has gone through, its nice to see how respectful and well manor-ed he has become instead of other routes he could have taken. Despite being obviously bitter about the media and hesitant to say anything to them, he is still very polite and respectful to them and his teammates.

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

    ??

  • yeppers

    Bravo, I think this is the best RMNB post all year, and is frankly why this blog will be supported with ads. Its the best hockey blog, its fun. I love this team, I love the moves they made at the end of the year, maybe Kuzy comes earlier and were in the playoffs? You go out West and play like that and it shows we can compete, but maybe the pieces weren’t in place soon enough? Not sure about Oates, he did put Ovi in teh OVI spot, which was brilliant, but then not so much with Holts.

  • Myan

    Well since we’re all concerned about fashion now, I think Brouwer is wearing a henley…

  • pixiestix

    i love how brower is brower bombing himself in that photo

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

    That sounds like a type of Parrot.

  • frown

    “He is probably thinking its hopeless on the caps. Real interesting to
    see him talk about his future here, for the first time he may actually
    consider the possibility of him leaving if he has no cup in 3-4 odd
    years (granted that is still a while away).”

    Nothing in the interview suggested this….

  • Lawrence

    I found some pretty big issues with what a lot of the caps were saying. I am going to say some pretty controversial stuff here, so if you don’t wanna read that than don’t.

    Throughout the interviews we heard multiple cases of “sticking together as a team.” You look at interviews from Ovi, Holtby, Penner, Backstrom maybe a few others as well, they seem to have been ostracized from the group. Look at Ovi’s interviews about not blaming people, sticking together as a team. It’s so clear to me that this team had major fundamental team issues which is a major source of the problem. Ovi is right, people need to look at themselves before they start blaming everyone else, himself included. This team is so split in different directions of how this team should be run that it is unhealthy.

    One individual that I think is causing a major portion of that issue.

    Brouwer: This guy talks so much crap about playing the right way, talks bad about ex-teammates and current coaches. I feel like he doesn’t get along with ovechkin, kuz, and other offensive players (besides backstrom who he loves for feeding him the puck all day). Does that sound like a leader to you people? It sounds like someone whose ego is too big. If you have an issue with how someone on your team is playing, keep in the locker-room, don’t run to the media about how they have to be “accountable, and better”.

    Unfortunately I get the feeling a lot of players like Brouwer on this team agree with him. Which is why I hate GMGM so much, for bringing in way too many grinders that hate offensive hockey (the strength and core of this team). To me, so many of those grinders think there is only one way to play hockey and be successful. When you have such a split mindset like that, you are bound to get this type of controversy.

    Also I think Laich is probably a good locker-room guy, but he needs to stop talking the walk and actually do something on the ice, until then (torts voice) shut ya yap, hunter hockey didn’t get us any further than any other coach did.

  • Lawrence

    Well from the interview he obviously believes he is not part of the problem. He even says, “I am who I am.” He specifically says that he wouldn’t tell the media if he were to ask for a trade. You don’t think he might have considered the possibility of it in the future?

  • pixiestix

    yes that’s a short sleeved henley. kinda looks like a short-sleeved version of Dexter’s kill shirt

  • Graham Dumas

    Is the exit physical the controlling date for the whole summer? Rather, can they take him off LTIR during the summer and then buy him out?

  • Graham Dumas

    “We need to execute” sounds to me like something people say when they don’t understand what the problem actually is. To me, that’s the biggest problem of all.

  • Tyler Greene

    I’m leaning towards agreeing with Hillen. Wardo, Chimera and Fehr thrived in this system because they flat out work. Now Oats and Line combinations, eghhhhhhh no. But in the O Zone if we had everyone working like that trio, we would have had alot more progress even strength.

  • Bilal

    did you not catch the part where he said “want to bring cup here” or how about “Never going to ask for a trade”

  • Lawrence

    check his next sentence after that for clarification.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Thank you for wording my question better. :)

  • Guest

    No Carlson exit interview?

  • Alexander

    Ovi’s hair and demeanor remind me of a President or Prime Minister after being in office for multiple terms….makes one reminisce of the old days when it was all bizarre outfits, broken English, giant smiles and electric performances.

  • Graham Dumas

    Haha, sorry, not trying to step on your toes. Obviously the same thing’s been on my mind for a while…

  • Amykins

    That is actually pretty cool.

  • JenniferH

    Thanks for the breakdowns. I want to sit down and watch the exit interviews. So far I only watched Holts and it was really good, except the end made me sad where he was basically blaming himself for not being good enough as being the reason they brought in Jaro. Despite the fact that it was Oates’ futzing with him that messed with him (and it was clearly Oates and not Kolzig) and that just sucks that this guy who clearly does want the best for this team is feeling as if he’s underappreciated.

    Still, thanks for giving a preview of what I’ll be watching when I watch the other interviews so I know what to prepare myself for. :)

  • accidental_diva

    I’m just getting around to this article (you know… yay for trying to be productive today) and was trying to find out if anyone else had said this.

    He’s definitely wearing a henley (which for definition’s sake is anything that looks like a t-shirt but has buttons like a polo with no collar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henley_shirt)

  • accidental_diva

    According to my research (asking my brother and google), yesterday’s physical is the controlling one for the summer. He’ll have to be cleared in August/September to practice at camp.

  • Graham Dumas

    “letmegooglethatforyou.com”

    Awesome, thanks for that!

  • Fedor

    About 135 times cheaper.

  • erinamanda13

    The fashion commentary made me laugh out loud at my desk at work several times. The only thing I’d like to know is where did Alzner get that shirt, from the 80s?? And yes, I hope Halak is kidding/lying/delusional.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for calling it “break down day.” “Break up day,” as some call it, is even more depressing, like everybody just got dumped.

  • Tripp McHenry

    Does anyone think that giving the C to someone else is 1) impossible 2) Joel Ward or Backstrom? possibly 3) or should we focus on GMGM and Oates bye bye before all else? just curious

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

    Haha

    1) Yes. Taking the captaincy away from the face of the franchise would be tantamount to changing the face of the franchise.
    2) whyyyyyyyyyyyy
    3) YESSSSSSSSSS

  • Capper63

    Reminds me of when The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in their first winless season as an expansion team, and their coach responded to a question about “execution” with something like: “For this team I would be in favor of it.”

  • Capper63

    I am guessing he was really into “Flock of Seagulls” when he was a kid. Hey we all go through phases…

  • Jonah

    How is this a terrible idea? I think after the way green line played this year WARDO/chimmer should get the C.
    OV may be the face of the franchise, but he’s not doing a good job of leading the team. Also, totally agree that everyone who wears a suit during the games needs to pack their bags.

  • Holtby Fan (Katie)

    Watched most of the exit interviews. But loved the fashion comments and quotes. This was my first season checking RMNB almost everyday. I’ve learned more about hockey on this site than any other site. I truly enjoy all the posts, stats, pictures and overall “fun” RMNB offers to Caps fans. Thanks to all the RMNB Staff. All of you are very dedicated to your readers. It is very much appreciated.

    Hope next year is our year. I really feel missing the playoffs will be a huge eye opener for the Caps.

  • Sarah

    Mojo and all of them. His cast, Halak’s unfair treatment in the press (to say nothing of Ovi’), Holtby getting forced to play a style that doesn’t make sense here, Penner hardly getting any minutes and when he did the lines were, uh, not the most productive… Backstrom blaming himself for the season (and the IOC screwing him over in the worldwide press over nothing)… they’re in an impossible situation. They’re humans, and this just isn’t good for human psychology, especially not if you want them to be productive.
    We can’t make the organization changes. But we can support them, and my best guess on how to do that (other than keep being a fan) is not get upset when they make silly videos and the like. People need humor, and besides, less funny for them is also less funny for us. I can understand why people got upset when they released those funny videos, but is this better? They look so depressed, and it’s not going to make things better. Last season the Mavs missed the playoffs for the first time in forever, but they fought their way out of an awful slump and all the disappointment with some funny gestures and hilarious videos, and nobody got on their case. Dallas and the NBA loved it. Those beards, man…. and the whole “Dirk Dynasty” thing…
    We get Peter and Ian making us laugh, and Fedor giving us hope about prospects, and Igor distracting us with happenings in Mother Russia, and Chris taking photos of cherry blossoms. Shouldn’t they?

  • Alli S.

    I was moreso just pointing out Mojo because of his cast… Though I do feel bad for the rest of them, too. I do agree about the funny videos. A lot of other teams do it, and it doesn’t take away from the players playing the game. Honestly, the videos, Instagram photos, Brouwer bombs, and Tweets are some of the reasons why I love the Caps. It all shows personalities and makes them human (and really funny ones at that). Yes, I would still watch the Caps without all of the little tidbits, but after seeing them and getting a feel for the dudes’ personalities, I know that I root for them even more.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Ugh. That’s what I was afraid of. Thanks for doing the legwork for us lazy fans. :)

  • accidental_diva

    He can be traded… but (as my brother and logic concluded) who wants someone who barely played half the games this year due to injury?

  • Tripp McHenry

    ok the face of the franchise maybe, but we watch game after game after game the lazy backchecking and predictable foechecking, I just don’t think he is “leading” the team AND an example, of course I forget the exact moment….. Ovi one timer, stopped…. he stood there pouting while Backstrom fired the rebound in for a goal… and all the other examples published weekly. Joel Rechlicz has more team qualities on the bench… Don’t get me wrong, I drool in awe of the sick angles and one timers Ovi gets, but the frustration is overwhelming. bah bah bah I could go on but it won’t change anything. Thanks for answering and Go Bears! that’s a whole other story! UGH

  • Tripp McHenry

    and if anyone reads this….. I know recker is in Hershey and doesn’t play much, but when he does he is high energy and is a hell of a team mate……. Why wasn’t Penner used like we used Knuble a few years ago? rhetorical but I could go on Thanks RMNB you guys are the best!

  • bill

    honestly though how can you really know? They are the players, they interact with him every day and know the situation better than any of us do. I think you have to trust them on this one. How can we as fans possibly know what really goes on behind the scenes? How much of it is player fault vs. coach fault. It may look like coach fault, but maybe there is something else going on.