The Three Futures of the Washington Capitals

It’s been ten days since the Washington Capitals’ season ended and the proverbial axe has yet to fall. As of press time, both George McPhee and Adam Oates are still gainfully employed. That has some people upset.

I get it. I’m a bit surprised the team hasn’t acted yet. And this period of uncertainty doesn’t come without consequences, among them the possible loss of pending free agent Mikhail Grabovski. That would be bad, but I’m trying to see it from the owners’ perspective.

The Caps are at a fork in the road. I can see three potential futures ahead of the team, and now Ted Leonsis has to choose one. It’s a daunting decision, one that merits careful deliberation and planning. If the Caps pick incorrectly– or fail to properly execute that decision– things could get grim and dark. Things could get grimdark.

Here are all the ways I can I see it going.

Future 1: Burn it Down and Salt the Earth

They could blow it up. The Caps may choose to become a different kind of team. This would involve letting George McPhee walk and (probably) firing Adam Oates. The new GM would be dedicated to building a defensively responsible team, the kind of team the world had been telling the Caps to be– incorrectly — since 2009. Some Caps players would seem to prefer that. The new team would be built up the middle and on the blue line rather than on the wings.

In this future, the core of the team, especially Alex Ovechkin, would be dealt away. It wouldn’t make sense to play Ovi on a modest team where his talent and style could clash or corrupt the new ethos. “Two-way” would be the watchword, the basic criterion for all roster pickups. It’d be a more stable team, but one that would never soar.

The D-first Caps would certainly be more viable than the Hunter and Oates iterations, which were bad hockey teams. They might even out-possess their opponents. But the Caps of the Blow-Up Future (you may also call it the Goat’s Blood Future) would look nothing like the team you’ve loved (and also hated) in the last decade. It would be a true reboot.

Future 2: Scoar Moar Goals, Part II

In this future, the Capitals would recognize the obscene amount of offensive talent on their roster and optimize it. This future means an avowed recognition that the problem with Ovechkin isn’t how he plays without the puck, it’s that he has been playing without the puck so much in the last four years.

The new GM and coach would surround Ovi with setup men who carry the puck into the offensive zone– not passive passengers. The S.M.G. defense would be mobile and aggressive– forcing dump-ins and turnovers at the blue line and feeding the offensive for rushes in the blink of an eye. The goalies …they’d be busy.

The team would get stronger when Ovi is off the ice.

image

They’d realize that the best defense is playing offense always.

image (1)

There’s be less of this:

And more of this:

face pie

It would be a bold future, a doubling down, if you will. It would be an unmistakable acknowledgement by ownership of this team’s strengths and a commitment to getting the most out of those strengths. No more hedging a bet by pairing the scorers with the stout. This would be going All In. Fortuna fortes iovat.

I like this future. It’d be the most fun to watch for sure.

Future 3: Grimdark

No decision at all. This would be an abnegation of responsibility. In this future, the Capitals stay the course. Or maybe they make a change but lack the competence to make it so.

This may require re-signing (not resigning) George McPhee and/or not firing Adam Oates. Oates or his replacement would continue to execute a system that neither exploits Alex Ovechkin’s explosive offensive nor counterbalances his accompanying defensive flaws. The team would get regularly outshot, it would overpay depth players, and it would trade away valuable role-players.

This would be the worst of all words. This is the Darkest Timeline– a world where Ovechkin is not happy here or anywhere else, where Sentinels patrol the skies and hunt mutants, where Amy Pond is a grumpy old lady without Rory, and where the Caps are a sub-48-percent possession team depending on special teams for postseason life. No one wants this.

And that’s why I’m confident the Caps will make a change– and a big one– in the coming days. Because they know the status quo is no longer acceptable, and because they know the change must be made carefully and correctly.

So I’ll try to be patient.

For now.

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  • DashingDave314

    I’m hoping for Future II. This team is far better off than most people think. No major signings/trades have to happen. The front office just has to be smart enough to realize what those minor moves that need to be done are. That front office is not the current one.

  • Ben Reed

    #1.

    I disagree that the Caps have an “obscene amount” of offensive talent. They have Ovi and Backstrom and a few nice complementary players. The 2010 Run & Gun is not coming back; let it go, man. Let it go.

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

    So trade Ovi?

  • Topher Gee

    I really like S.M.G part duex… are you available to be a GM?!

  • DashingDave314

    Somewhere between the pre-Montreal series offense and the Dale Hunter offense would be nice. You have to possess the puck well to win, and that’s what the Capitals did until the post-Montreal blowup.

  • Ben Reed

    Frankly, I think it’s time. I’d pick up the phone and call Montreal.

    It hurts, I know.

  • Pete

    Dear Peter,
    I have been dating a wonderful woman for some time now. Sometimes, in the bedroom, the sounds she makes remind me of what it sounds like when the NHL mic up Ovi and the whole activity is over faster than a PP after a Backstrom to Ovi face off win. Do you have any advice?
    Thanks,
    Terrible Ending Dude

  • DashingDave314

    Unless Subban and Pacioretty are two of the names coming to DC for Ovi, (would take more, BTW) no.

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

    I’ll be here, sobbing.

  • Abhi

    “Grimdark” sounds like management decisions by every Washington sports franchise in the past 30 years, so…

  • Matt Lauer

    Though I was hoping for more decisive action, I must admit that I’m a little unsure of where the team should go in the future. I think that the return to SMG would be a hell of a lot of fun, but I don’t think this team is actually capable of it any longer. Everyone has aged five years and they don’t have the footspeed they once did (look at how Colorado skated around us this year). Part of me wants to see the team get rid of everyone over 31 and stock up with young, quick skaters — even if that means getting high draft picks the next few years.

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

    Change nothing.

  • H70

    The lack of talk about it (other than here) is making me very nervous.

  • DashingDave314

    Dear Pete,

    Does this woman have a sister? Just asking.

    Thanks,
    Dave

  • WashCaps40k

    In the Grimdark of the future there is only lottery picks. The emperor sits entombed in his golden throne as his season ticket holders fall rapidly to chaos.

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

    40k. Nice.

  • DashingDave314

    I’m not nervous… yet. If this goes on for two more weeks, I’ll start handing out torches and pitchforks. Or tar and feathers, if that’s more your thing.

  • riggorules

    In S.M.G. Part Deux does GMGM still have a place here? It seems that by going down this road the team is acknowledging that fancy stats are legit. And I don’t think GMGM is on board with that, just from his public comments.

  • David Schneider

    “The D-first Caps would certainly be more viable than the Hunter and Oates iterations, which were bad hockey teams.”

    I don’t think this is quite fair. They were mediocre hockey teams, with potential. Which, to me, is a far worse reality to deal with. My heart would have broken a lot less these past few years if I could just say they were a terrible team and be done with it.

  • mawgripcom

    All they need is two top stay home defensemen.
    Try moving green to a 2nd or 3rd line wing .

  • Matt Mendelsohn

    I can’t bear to think of the status quo actually being considered, almost as much as I hate to see Ned Stark’s head get chopped off again and again in your post. You have to believe that this year will be different, right? But just as I’d like to believe that little Arya will rise to the throne instead of that evil Littlefinger, I’m starting to have my doubts.

    So much has been said by you guys and your great readers that I won’t add anything here. Suffice to say this: I’ve been watching a few games here and there, including that great 2-and-a-bit overtime game between the Bruins and Red Wings, and our dear Caps don’t look like they belong in the same league as many of these teams. And that’s INCLUDING our 50-plus goal scoring captain. By the end of the season we looked like an AHL team with some NHLers thrown in, instead of the other way around. And we’ve squandered way too much promise for that to be the case.

  • DashingDave314

    False, they need two more defensemen who move the puck well.

  • Catherine__M

    I find the rail headed out of town and/or the horse they rode in on to be more effective, if less amusing than feathers. I can always get behind the effective use of a pitchfork, however.

  • Jack Conness

    This is getting ridiculous. If Ted wanted to keep or get rid of these two bums, he should of acted right away. I can’t believe we are going through this process. I feel like this wait is just telling us BOTH GMGM and Oates will stay. Even if they do get fired, I can’t believe we haven’t heard anything yet. Very frustrating.

  • Doublenickelporn

    Mcphee is done. Ted is waiting til the Wizards are out or another NHL team makes a move. I bet the farm on it. Mcphee probably offered a spot in the organization and is lulling it over or moving on. New GM will can Oates or keep him if all he chooses to review is the hi light package Oates puts together.

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

    I’m not saying those teams lacked potential– my whole argument is that there’s a ton of wasted potential here. But as coached teams measured by their results, they were bad. I think that’s justified, and there’s oodles of evidence for it here: http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/category/statistical-analysis

  • VirginiaPatriot

    I think you made an astute observation about the Zards being in the playoffs. I don’t think Ol Teddy Boy wants to make any announcements that would take attention away from his real love interest while they are in the playoffs.

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

    I doubt that.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Future 2: Valar Scoreis

  • Shaun Phillips

    I think Littlefinger’s going to roast like the other lords of Harrenhal once Dany gets off her ass over to Westeros.

    Oh and the Wings couldn’t even have competed against a PeeWee league last night… ugh

  • Josh Carey

    I agree, but I’d hate to watch 2-3 seasons of missing playoffs to do it. Also, it’s strange how the fastest player on the team is also the oldest in Chimera.

  • hess

    stay thirsty my GBB!!!
    FFGMGM

  • FireGMGM&Oates

    I wrote a little something something I what I think the Caps should be doing this off season.
    http://lukeadomanis.tumblr.com/post/82611753939/the-caps-offseason-plan

  • hess

    redskins won the SB in 1991 or 23 years ago. as long as $nyder owns the team the redskins will never win another championship. same with leonsis (pocket$).
    $nydonsi$

  • hess

    beeloooowwwwww it up, but nooooooooooooo!!!

  • Graham Dumas

    Honk if you love The Doctor references; and if you like option deux.

  • Matt Root

    I’m confused as a you also posted no major trades/signings has to happen but then say we need to acquire 2 quality dmen as well as being for shopping Green for a top 6 forward.

  • http://batman-news.com Beef-a-ROvi

    Can’t blow it up with the WC next year, Ted’s been waiting years for this. Can’t have all Philly fans showing up, bad for busines..

  • Matt Root

    Heh. You’re probably right that the WC is on the minds of the organization. Though, present course doesn’t bode well for the WC anyways except for Ovi and Backstrom being the draw on the Caps end. Not like this current roster is going to be suddenly a Cup contender by next WC.

  • hess

    bad for business? business as usual means the WC will be a disaster anyways, and i’d be fine with it. either dump gmgm and oates or this team goes nowhere. a new GM will want to rid the team of anything gmgm has straddled the team with.
    FFGMGM
    NAFD

  • Stanley Cup in Washington

    What is that one thing they always say wins championships?

  • hess

    DEFENSE!!!

  • Mark T.

    I hope it’s a blow-up scenario, honestly.
    It will be painful, but is the true path to salvaging what’s left here. Anything else will be pandering and “over-sold” to the mindless fan base.

  • Doublenickelporn

    I’m even more confident now.

  • hess

    @PSLouis85

    tell all the GBB at CSN hess says to stay thirsty and i miss posting with you guys.

    stay thirsty PSLouis85!!!

  • Matt Root

    I disagree that the overhaul has been tried. At best, it was half-assed. The team was an offensive dynamo who hit a hot goalie. With that group of offensive players, they tried to change their identity. They did nothing to bring in the type of players needed to play their system. If they did sign a player capable of playing their defensive oriented game, they trickled in, played bottom 6 minutes, and left the same one way brand on the top lines. It’s like they wanted their top 6 to run n gun and somehow the bottom 6 would lock people down. Simply put, they changed the system without changing enough of the roster.

  • hess

    easy for me to agree with in todays “i want it now world.”

  • Stanley Cup in Washington

    Will do sir.
    Very nice to see you.
    We all anxiously await your return

  • hess

    if CSN unlocks me, i’ll be there. until then, this might have to do.

  • Matt Root

    At present course, we could all be seeing 2-3 seasons of missing the playoffs. The east was horrible minus Boston and I guess that one team in Pittsburgh. And we still missed out. No more SE to hold on to.

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

    sloganized conventional wisdom never subjected to analysis but interpreted as absolute fact anyway?

    wait lemme try again

  • hess

    and tampa, the only SE team to advance to the playoffs got swept. i see what you’re saying here.

  • Matt Root

    Interesting you bring up the bolts. They have this guy who is pretty good at scoring goals too.. Weird though, it wasn’t enough. Sounds oddly familiar.

  • Stanley Cup in Washington

    Just show the Bruins your little graphs you came up with up there and see if they’ll let us have their cup this summer.

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

    Boston is awesome, but I’m not even sure they’ll win the conference now. NYR could give them a run. Even if they do win, I think those teams out west– LA, SJS, STL, CHI — are better.

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

    Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • BorntoHula

    Those teams have some pretty good defenses.

  • Stanley Cup in Washington

    The Rangers?
    Yes, another flat out offensive team, right?

  • Matt Root

    I like that those teams you mentioned run n gun and show little regard for defensive responsibility and have their goalies tested 40ish shots a game. It’s clearly a recipe for success that the Capitals of 09 paved and should get right back to doing.

    Snark for effect.

    I do not get how you can identify the contenders and make an association that run n gun is the way to combat those teams.

  • Doublenickelporn

    Gee, what do the 6 teams in your post have in common, Run and Gun Hockey right?

  • VirginiaPatriot

    Direct knowledge or opinion? Maybe I should qualify my opinion: At least through the first round of the NBA playoffs. I doubt in their calculations they expect to get much further than the first round. IF they happen to get lucky, yes, I could see where Ted would need to take action (if that is his plan) sooner than later. I really, really, really think Ted factors the Zards in a lot of his decisions. Any Caps announcements during the first round would take up Monumental Sports resources to “manage the message”. The only message they want talked about at the moment is that the basketball team made the playoffs. I admit this is all a stab in the dark by me, but to me it makes some sense, based on past observations. Then again, I could be full of &$#@, which I usually am. :D

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    I disagree with the assertion that the “defensive” team needs to be bad. Why can’t it be crafted similar to Detroit Red Wings?

  • FrustratedCapsFan

    Until your return, Stay Frustrated hess

  • DirtySanchez

    Who is Peter Hasset?

    Why is he allowed to write about hockey?

    He appears to want to watch video game hockey instead of actual hockey.

    Fire McPhee and Oates.

    Compliance buyout Laich. Trade Green, and if the new GM can convince Ted it is best moving forward to trade Ovi then get it done. For those that want this last scenario, sit back and pray the Wiz make it to the Eastern Conference finals and become Ted’s new money maker or less of a money loser than the Caps.

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    I honestly believe the best possible team you could make, for best postseason run, would not have Ovechkin. I don’t think he’s a Stanley Cupper, that’s just my take on 50 years watching the NHL. If you can get a 30-goal scorer two-way forward and a true number 1 D ala Mark Tinordi, we’d be better off. Also, please jettison Green and Laich. That’s as far as I’d “blow it up.”

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    Oh, my “blow up” includes new management and a new coaching staff. I’d also opt for a new owner, but that isn’t happening.

  • Stanley Cup in Washington

    Littlefinger never goes to Harrenhall.
    He takes Sansa to the Vale where he kills Lysa after it’s revealed that he got her to kill Jon Arryn.
    Dany never goes to Westeros.
    Not yet at least.
    She becomes the queen of Mereen until she flies away on a dragon and runs into a Dothraki horde

  • Paterson

    Troy Brouwer weighs in with his opinion:

  • OVECHKING

    Rangers have Girardi and MacD… 2 guys who continue to shut down Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin and any top line in the league regardless of the situation. Its a given. They beat out the best offense and the best players most shifts. If they dont’t they have an All star goalie behind them to help.

    The quality of shots that the Rangers top D (MacD and Girardi) give up when they are on the ice is very poor for the opposing forwards. They might have a bad Corsi but in fact they are doing a very good job. You cannot argue against this, you simply have to watch the games and look at the results. That top pair is never outplayed. The caps don’t have a top pair like that and no matter how good you think you are offensively, you cannot win if you don’t have the right pieces on the back end. Caps need 2 top 4dmen to go along with Alzner and Carlson.

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

    And good offenses. The point isn’t that offense > defense or the other way around– it’s that the offense/defense paradigm isn’t a very illuminating way to think or talk about it. The best teams don’t play defense much at all.

  • Stanley Cup in Washington

    Arya hops a ship to Bravos where she becomes an assassin with the faceless men like Jaaqen.
    Tyrion kills Tywin and escapes to Essos where he tries to meet up with Danaerys.
    Jon Snow is killed by the men of the night’s watch after he lets wildlings through the wall.

  • factoryofsadness

    MOAR GOALS

  • Guest

    Yes I know that but there’s 2 more books to go and who knows what’s going to happen. Also, nice job spoiling it for any one who hasn’t read that far.

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

    Comment deleted. Guy is banned.

  • OVECHKING

    Pit the best Washington Caps team (pres trophy one) playing run and gun against the Bruins (any version the last 3 years) who is going to win? The “better” offensive team or the team with “better dman” and better defensive systems?

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

    Thanks Peter.

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

    Nothing wrong with a defensive team. I have a preference for strong offense– if we stipulate that it’s like Highlander and there can be only one.

    It’s also important to be clear that the Hunter Caps were not a defensive team. They were a team who tried to be defensively strong, but instead were bad.

  • DashingDave314

    Nate Schmidt is one, a free agent is another. Problem solved. Doesn’t even have to be a major free agent. Just someone who possess the puck well.

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

    The 2009 Caps team is about as good as the 2014 Boston team.

    Caps are more fun to watch though.

  • Shaun Phillips

    If you want Quincey, you’re welcome to him. He’s a turnover machine, takes horrible penalties, and doesn’t play as big as his size should let him (much like Ericsson on the Wings too). He’s basically Erskine 2.0. Wings have enough forward depth and don’t need to trade for another. They’ve still got Pulkinnen buried in GR and Mantha in the QMJL as well as a few others. I think the Wings are hurting in the same spot as the Caps, defense.

  • DashingDave314

    The Capitals have been getting worse every year since 2009-2010. Couldn’t be the whole “we’re trying to be a defensive team now” thing, could it?

  • Shaun Phillips

    Caps can’t buy out Laich with him not passing his physical and being on LTIR.

  • OVECHKING

    Could it also be a very bad general manager(this is actually it). What happen in the 2009/10 season? Guys like Backy, Ovi, Green etc were off their contract year and signing their “UFA level” contracts. Poor cap management and roster decisions led to the demise. Bigger factor than systems and coaching.

    look at most cup winners, they won while having big pieces of their team sitll on ELCs. Another indication Mcphee is horrible.

  • Owen Johnson

    This is for you, Peter

  • DirtySanchez

    Yes they can. There is legal language in the CBA that allows it. Other steps have to be taken, but it can be done. That, or they can sue him for getting injured overseas during the lockout to void the remainder of the contract.

  • OVECHKING

    “Caps are more fun to watch though.”
    That’s it right there my friend. You have lost (or never have had) prespective about winning playoff hockey. The Rock the Red allure is what Ted wants people to think can win. If exciting is what you want, then sure you can have that caps team. Just don’t be disappoitned or sobbing when you are 60 years old (I wish you and this site good health) and still wondering why the caps haven’t won a cup.

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

    Or both.

  • DashingDave314

    Yes, he’s a bad GM because he overreacted. Capitals were doing fine before the overreaction due to a hot goalie. SC teams possess the puck well and shoot more than their opponents. Thanks for proving my point!

  • DashingDave314

    Where does it say that?

  • Doublenickelporn

    Sir that statement confirms you’ve never played hockey. What you do in the neutral zone, on the forecheck when you don’t have the puck is all defense. Top possession teams still don’t have the puck 46-47% of the time. Wow

  • OVECHKING

    Never 50/50. By saying both its ambiguous. Mcphee is majority of the problem. He has control over everything hockey related on this team and has the last 17 years. He is majority.

  • Exile in Philly

    Good post, but given the owner’ slack of experience with, and failure to create a sustainably good organization, Ted will base his personnel decisions on corporate season ticket renewals. As long as we keep showing up, why change? That would indeed be awful.

  • Shaun Phillips

    I can’t imagine the Caps suing a player to void the contract. They already have a hard enough time getting players to come here. Suing Laich would pretty much kill any hope of pulling in high-value FAs.

  • DirtySanchez

    in a few sections. It goes from one section, points you to another and then to another. Like I said, you have to read the document as a lawyer. It is in there.

  • DashingDave314

    Which is precisely what I’m trying to say.

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

    Ha, okay.

    Just a heads-up, stuff like this is what we mean by tone problems:

    “You have lost (or never have had) prespective about winning playoff hockey”

    That’s not a great way to have a two-way discussion. That’s a good way to make things ad hominem.

    But I appreciate your POV.

  • Owen Johnson

    Because if they start losing, less people will show up.
    Winning = $profit$

  • DirtySanchez

    there is zero hope of that as is while McPhee is here and until Ted changes the way he runs things in terms of lockerroom issues, player availability to media. So that doesn’t matter. And people within the organization have already said it might be done. Whether it is a real or just a threat to get Laich to mutually agree to a buyout, who knows.

  • DashingDave314

    Well I ain’t a lawyer, so quote it.

  • Doublenickelporn

    Neither

  • DirtySanchez

    learn to read like one then. I am not sorting through the document for your convenience. Ive read it multiple times, so can you.

  • Doublenickelporn

    Tom, I think it happens, we just can’t interrupt the winning feelings on F St right now, If the Wiz blow this expect it to come out the day after they lose the series.

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

    Doubt should be reflexive.

    It might be another 10 days until there’s a decision about GM/coach, but we don’t and won’t know why that delay will have happened. My policy is not to assume we know why.

  • DashingDave314

    So in other words, it doesn’t say it in there?

  • WashCaps40k

    Thanks

  • DirtySanchez

    read it. Email people that know the CBA. They’ll tell you the same thing. You want me to do that work for you too? No need to be lazy Dave.

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

    All possession variance is 5% above or below 50%. You know that and you know I know that. Again: I’m paraphrasing Darryl Sutter.

    Please try to disagree without being disagreeable.

  • OVECHKING

    Apologies.

    I have another proposition above. Let me know what you think/

  • DashingDave314

    Yes, do it because everybody else is lazy and nobody believes you.

  • alchemistmuffin

    I have a bad feeling it’s going to be option 3 at this point. Nothing coming from Leonsis’s mouth about the staff means they are going to stay the course. It might also mean that they are waiting for one of the coach currently in playoff to get sacked, so they can find who to pursue for coach.

    Or worst come to worst, even though Leonsis wants to sack both Oates and McPhee, nobody wants the Caps job, period. Why? Ovechkin, or something.

    Either way, at this point, we may be faced with option three. Which means bye bye playoffs for while. In that case, I’ll be in this booth, crying myself to sleep.

  • DirtySanchez

    really? you are the only one questioning it. Ive pointed it out to people before. This site really follows the lead of the Caps leaders, let everyone else do the work for you. #rocktheredyouhoser

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

    I agree

  • DashingDave314

    No, I’ve read through it multiple times and I haven’t seen anything in there that would support what you said. I’m not willing to spend $200+ to have a lawyer tell me what it says, so I suppose that you win.

  • Matthew Helm

    Are you saying you liked the caps before it was cool to like the caps? #hockeyhipster is that a thing now?

  • OVECHKING

    Ok let me ask propose another situation.

    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Brouwer
    Green – Alzner
    Holtby
    Coaching Style: Bruce (run and gun)

    vs

    Marchand – Bergeron – Eriksson
    Chara – Sidenberg
    Rask
    Coaching Style: Jullien or even Babcock (high pressure in dzone, hybrid neutral zone trap system)

    Each spend 1 minute out on the ice against each other.
    Run play 100 times

    Caps Victory is if they score a goal
    Bruins Victory is if they score a goal. Less significant victory is if no goal happens

    If the play is run 100 times, and no goals are scored. This has to be considered a victory for the bruins. (more on this below)

    Who comes out victorious more often?

    Please note, this is not a fair wager as the Salary of the caps 5 is disproportional comparatively speaking to the rest of the team. What this means is if the bruins prevent a goal that means they have done their job. Since the caps salary cap structure makes it so they rely on their stars and don’t have offensive depth(or D depth for that matter), if “lessers” on bruins can prevent a goal against the caps top line, they can have other “better lines” (product of balanced Salary roster management) on the team beat out the rest of the caps lines. Ex when you run a second line against Krejic Lucic against Majo Brouwer Kuznetsov, the bruins will most often win that matchup. They will also ice better second pairing dmen than the caps. Further improving the result.

    Brings us back to the big cog, who is mcphee for running this ship to the ground.

  • hess

    hey peter, what is the matter?
    if folks disagree with you do you turn them off like pocket$ does? be a man and let the CSN (GBB) crew back that you have booted off your website. you people against freedom of speech on your blogs are weak, just like your argument about the type of defense pocket$ and gmgm put on the ice yearly.

  • Doublenickelporn

    Be the player you were acquired to be. Chris Simon part deux.

  • DirtySanchez

    Russian Machine is Broken.

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

    ?

    I banned a dude for posting Game of Thrones spoilers. That’s it.

    Also, you may be confused about what freedom of speech means.

  • DashingDave314

    I think the Capitals would have a very good shot of winning that thing, probably about 6 or 7 times out of 10. That actually would be fun to see. Someone invent a time machine so we can make this happen.

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

    hahaha what a funny story mark

  • hess

    “we need to play a full 60 minutes.”
    “we need to go to the net.”
    “grabo does stand stationary on the PP”.

  • DirtySanchez

    you banned someone for posting spoilers to a terrible TV show? what if I posted it what happened on the series finale to Saved By The Bell, Full House or Family Matters?

  • Owen Johnson

    If we go with #3, I will say “Efvreebodee betrai mee! Ah fed up wif dis whirreauld!”

  • James Desautels

    Valid point. There is no certain way to win a Cup. It’s far more about the right guys coming together and your goalie getting hot and a coach who can scheme on the fly as a series evolves. We have had pieces of the puzzle but never the whole tri-force of wisdom. Look at our series we have this year, teams that were shutdown D teams all season are winning or losing games 4-3, 5-4, 6-3, etc. LAK made the playoffs by not letting anyone score and now they’ve ran into a SCOAR MOAR GOALS SJ team that is making the best goalie in the world (my opinion, so arguably the best) look like he’s overmatched. The Pens play barely any D nor are they getting game stealing performance from Flower but they’re still winning. I don’t see the need to overthink it here but the point is if you spend 82 games relying on a set and definitive tactic or style it doesn’t make you any closer to the Cup. Run n Gun or shutdown D works to get you into the tourney but from there it’s about 23 guys deciding to take every moment to be great and go do it for each other while the coach stays a step ahead of the other guy, and you certainly need a few hot games in net. We are awful at most of the most critical points of the game that are exponentially important in playoffs-PK, puck possession, face offs/zone starts, blocking shots, secondary scoring. You don’t need to nuke a team to get better at the fundamental aspects, and I truly think we have the young assets coming up to help with the secondary scoring options (outside Ovi and Nicky). A new coach and GM who are using our personnel better and developing our talent back on track will make a world of difference.

  • Doublenickelporn

    thought it was Russian Machine Never back checks?

  • DashingDave314

    Fair point. As Peter has said many times, teams that win the Stanley Cup possess the puck well. What did the Capitals do before that series? Possess the puck well. What haven’t they done since then? Possess the puck well. That’s not a coincidence.

  • DirtySanchez

    back check ((((((((((((((((

    cherry pick )))))))))))))))))

  • Doublenickelporn

    Brouwer was acquired to do what he did in chicago, guy scores a few extra goals and forget it, Chris Simon all over again.

  • DashingDave314

    I’m not saying Brouwer isn’t a good player. He definitely is. 20+ goal scorer who crashes the net and plays solid defense? Sign me up. Just saying he wouldn’t be a great fit in a run and gun system unless he was paired with someone like Kuznetsov.

    Plus, come on he made Ian dress in spandex.

  • Doublenickelporn

    They can absolutely sue him, read it again Dave. He also just needs to be healthy the week of the buyout, and saying Brook’s mouth is plastered all over the radio saying he would be back if the Caps made the playoffs, Caps will be fine. He can also agree to it, which he would be wise to do as he will probably come out of it making more money.

  • Doublenickelporn

    I’m saying he’s incredibly over rated and Bruce’s trap team that was shut out 10 times still won the ECF and was suited to go much further in the playoffs than the 09 team, massive injuries to the blue line which led to Sean collins being your top Right shot against TB was that team’s downfall. That and Neuvy was no Varly.

  • Michael Fanning

    That was Ted’s viewpoint back before the lockout – if the season ticket holder renewals are high (and you have a waiting list to backfill any renewal losses) then all is well. Remain calm. Full STH packages are money in the bank. Whether the fans show up, sell their tickets to opposing fans or just walk away at the end of a disappointing season, it doesn’t matter. Ted’s got their money in the bank. It’s a bit like a movie theater, actually. The teams are like movies – they attract the fans who buy tickets. But ultimately, the price for the tickets basically covers the rental costs for the movies. The real money is made on the concessions and merchandise sales. As long as you have fans coming in the door and buying concessions, MSE makes money. The Capitals, as an entity, may lose money (and probably do, when viewed from an isolated perspective), but MSE ultimately makes money in the end.

    Even in this down year, I believe the Caps essentially sold out every game. The Wizards showed improvement, which translates to more butts in the seats and more sales in the VC, so it’s a win. Next year, if renewals are as high as the select-a-seat program suggests, both teams will be reasonably good draws. For Ted to recognize there is a serious problem, the STH numbers need to drop off significantly and the waiting list needs to be as ephemeral as the Caps playoff chances in April this year. Then, maybe, he’ll recognize the problem and start trying to address it.

  • DashingDave314

    They *could* sue him, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. I’m sure that suing players is what draws free agents to teams.

  • Doublenickelporn

    Spoiling Full House would be a huge dick move

  • Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

    the caps can get right back to where they were in 2009/10 with just one move…
    get schultz back and partner him with green!!!!!

  • James Desautels

    Note-I do think we need a few moves but nothing drastic or defcon 4 to be a legitimately better team. Without some deft moves we are prob not ready to make a real run again until some of these young cats are fully on NHL ice playing solid roles with our tested vets (Kuzya, Wilson, Burakovsky, Bowey, etc).

  • Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

    you still have the lawn chair and wheelbarrow on standby – right?

  • JD Hix

    I think he actually meant move Green to play for our offense. Which could be interesting, he’d certainly help a line with zone entries and possession not having to worry about playing D.

  • DirtySanchez

    Oh man. So the finale of Full House, DJ got a date to prom. Michelle had fallen off her horse and had a sudden case of the amnesia but got her memory back. Then Kimmy shows up looking like a hooker for prom, and DJs date to prom is the one and only Steve, back for the finale. And it ends with them all in the family room, one big, happy FULL HOUSE

  • hess

    new thread

  • hess

    SFMF
    STMF

  • Matt Root

    I see what you mean. Thanks for clarifying, Dave.

  • Matt McNeely

    I don’t think “bad” is the right word for a team that was able to win a playoff series against Boston. I don’t follow the distinction between defensive and defensively strong. The Hunter Caps were defined by a stifling defensive strategy.

    You just don’t like watching defense, man. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing and I don’t mind watching it. All the good teams are doing it. You don’t see a Scoar Moar style team winning Cups. And I think that’s because what happens when the goals just dry up? We’ve seen this phenomenon under Boudreau. SV%. Shooting%. Unreliable right? Those two things align against a team relying on offense, as they are won’t to do at anytime without warning, and that team is going to get blown out of the water. They have no way of weathering the storm. There can be very long streaks of random goal drought. We’ve seen it. A single random goal drought in the playoffs means the end for a Scoar Moar style team. A single hot goalie in the playoffs is an insurmountable obstacle for a SMG team, and you’re sure to run into lots of really good goalies on the road to the Cup. We’ve seen all of this! It doesn’t equal Stanley Cups! You need to be able to win a low scoring game against a hot goalie when you have to. You may need to win as many as 4 of them to over come the obstacle. You have to be able to limit chances and keep the puck out of your net when you need to. That’s one thing the old Scoar Moar Goals Caps could never do. Why go back?

  • Pat Magee

    1 or 2 is better than 3, but I have a sinking feeling it’ll be 3.

  • hess

    +55

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    If Ted could sell tickets to him making the decision, you know he’d do it.

  • Pat Magee

    Also, the only way Ovi would be traded is if it was to Edmonton for Eberle, Hall, and Gagner.

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

    Well put

    Even if I don’t fully agree with the Brouwer stuff

  • DashingDave314

    Yeah, if Collins isn’t our best option against the Lightning, that team could have gone far as well. Frustrating that two things that were beyond the Capitals’ control (Halak and an unfair amount of injuries) are what caused this team to change so much.

  • DashingDave314

    And 1980′s Wayne Gretzky.

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    Actually, the “Score More Goals Part 2″ is exactly what McPhee *thought* he was creating. You see, this is our biggest problem of all, the fact that McPhee has such a difficult time judging NHL talent. Every defenseman he acquires, the reporter asks for a synopsis of that player’s style, and McPhee starts with, “Well, he’s a puck-mover…” And then we end up with a bunch of guys like Tom Poti who really had little offensive talent but was so weak on D he’d get ragdolled constantly in the Playoffs (see: Poti v Crosby, 2009). And too often McPhee’s acquisitions up front end up like Johnasson and Flash, again no physical strength. If you accept the fact that McPhee is in the bottom half of NHL GMs, maybe the bottom third, you understand why there are so many little problems. Always, at any given point in time, there are 2-3 bad contracts on the caps. You can’t win with that.

  • DashingDave314

    At least he’s not Paul Holmgren.

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    If anyone just felt something rubbing against your leg, that’s just the feeling of Ted’s hand in your pocket.

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

    “You just don’t like watching defense, man.”

    I admit that bias, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Hunter Caps were bad. They got superb goaltending in 1.5 rounds.

    They did not, as you say, limit chances. They actually allowed many more chances than the Boudreau Caps.

  • DirtySanchez

    Paul Holmgren had the balls to trade away core players and is in the playoffs with his group. We are on the couch, or at Worlds, or on the way to NASCAR in Richmond, or on the Golf Course.

  • Doublenickelporn

    Holmgren’s team went to a cup in 2010.

  • Chris Cerullo

    That 2nd solution is just to obvious for our beloved Caps to pursue. I unfortunately see another year of living in Grimdark. Woooo!

  • DashingDave314

    Yeah, I want a GM who signs defensemen to hilariously stupid deals. Why not?

  • DashingDave314

    He was great until then. And then he gave Pronger the extension, and it pretty much went downhill from there.

  • DirtySanchez

    How many NHL caliber D does he have on his roster? More than the 3 we have.

  • DashingDave314

    *Four. And he has the same number.

  • Doublenickelporn

    Oh, thats pretty much every other episode, minus a Jessie “Hair joke” and a bad cartoon impression by Alanis Morrisette’s ex boyfriend.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Subban, Tinordi, Patches, Gallagher, Eller, and a first. Would be the least I would accept, which is why trading Ovechkin will never be feasible. He’ll leave for Moscow before we trade him.

  • DirtySanchez

    We don’t have 4. Orlov should be an AHLer still.

    Timonen a better D than anyone we have. Streit a more offensively skilled, two way guy than any one we have right now. Coburn, Schenn, Grossman, MacDonald….that looks like he has 6 to our 3. Kind of the main reason we aren’t in the playoffs.

  • Matt Root

    I’d agree with that. On a Cup contending team, Orlov at this stage wouldn’t hold a spot.

  • Doublenickelporn

    I would urge to watch #20 when he played in Chicago and under Hunter. He’s Chris Simon all over again. he may be salvageable under the right coach, but me, I would deal him while the numbers are inflated.

  • DashingDave314

    What NHL team would not want a bottom pairing defenseman who could easily be a top 4 D at a bottom pairing price?

  • Doublenickelporn

    Any Gm would have paid Pronger can’t foreshadow injuries. That contract isn’t effecting them other than the owner’s pockets.

  • DirtySanchez

    Every team would. Orlov isn’t that. Only reason you think that is because you are blinded by your fandom. Take of the glasses, look at the playoff rosters and he wouldnt be in the top 6 on any of them, even Colorado and Minnesota that lack depth

  • Doublenickelporn

    4?

  • Doublenickelporn

    Ovi has a NTC kicking in 7/1. I can assure you Edmonton will be one of the 10 teams he has nixed to go to.

  • DashingDave314

    Timonen, Coburn, Schenn, MacDonald, Grossman. That’s 5 my apologies. I’d argue we have a 5th in Schmidt, but GMGM is an idiot, so we have 4. Point taken.

  • DirtySanchez

    Carrick is closer to what you are describing than Orlov is because he plays the right way and plays both ends. Carricks problem is he’s 20 pounds too light at this point.

  • hess

    nice

  • Matt Root

    Yep. 48% of Brouwers goals were on the PP. Camping the slot while the PK is solely focused on preventing the Ovi Shot. You can replicate that production with another, imo. Fehr or Ward come to mind as well as Wilson. I’ve been saying for weeks that his value won’t be any higher. Taking into account the likelihood of a system change, it would be normal to suspect a drop in production across the board if a brand new system is implemented as players take the time to adjust. If there’s a solid deal out there, I’d be disappointed if they didn’t pull the trigger.

  • DirtySanchez

    @peterhassett:disqus you block people that post spoilers, but let this Dave run his mouth and he is clueless. One may have ruined a moment in your life, the other is shoving propaganda down peoples throats.

    Thanks for your explanation in advance.

  • DashingDave314

    I’m blinded by my fandom? Must explain why I’ve been adamant that I want GMGM fired.

    God I hate the CSN idiots… the majority of the CSN comment guys are cool. The idiots… are a special kind of stupid though.

  • DirtySanchez

    Yes, you are. Okay cool, you want GMGM fired, welcome to something that should have happened in 2003.

  • DirtySanchez

    and yes people can differ in opinion, I have no problem with that. But his opinions are pretty brutal, you have to admit that. They do a disservice to everyone.

  • Doublenickelporn

    I mean who are our 4?

  • Doublenickelporn

    Orlov with the right coach would be fine. His game came a long way under French,

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

    I don’t know what you mean. Send an email if you wanna follow up. thecrew@russianmachineneverbreaks.com.

  • DirtySanchez

    Not worth following up

  • DashingDave314

    The fact that he got injured probably saved his job. Same thing is probably going to happen with Andy M. Give me McPhee over Holmgren. Just my opinion though.

  • Stevarooni

    I appreciate this article. Still, I remain wistful of writing an article entitled “And then what?” in response to so many well thought-out articles around the internetz and somewhat less well thought-out comments, all listing ‘The Many Crimes of George McPhee’ as evidence of the need to fire him, but with no burden to take the even more critical next step of bringing in a replacement(s) who above all else #1 won’t f things up worse than what the current regime would do moving forward.

    I don’t write this article mostly because I’m not a GM. I don’t make 10 important hockey decisions a day and I’m sure I’d royally mess up far more than 1 a month, a week, a day. But maybe if someone did write this article all the experts out there would respond with the names of the many desireable GM’s and coaches maniacally calling and on their knees begging Ted to bring them in and what they would specifically do positively going forward that McPhee definitely would not do that would end up with the Caps holding a Cup they otherwise definitely would not be.

    McPhee I could vaguely see Ted considering keeping. Somehow. Because hell, he’s still here in 2014 right? Oates I can’t begin to comprehend a defense for tho. Which as has been said kinda goes back to GM…

  • Doublenickelporn

    And playing in the NHL 4 years too soon.

  • DashingDave314

    I… agree with you. Sort of. I think Carrick’s at least a season at Hershey away from contributing at the NHL level. He’ll never be a stay at home type, but he’s an excellent puck mover. Was excellent running the point during PPs in Plymouth.

    I like Orlov more than most (excluding Ian). Put Orlov with someone who’s defensively responsible (Wey?), and he’d be so much better. Put Orlov with Green, and that’s a disaster waiting to happen.

  • DashingDave314

    4 years is a bit too much. 2 years, I agree. 4? No.

  • Matt McNeely

    I care about two things moving forward. First, I want to win in whatever way works. Second, I don’t want watch the same damn things that didn’t work all over again. So to anyone who thinks this team should go back to fire wagon, run and gun hockey I only have one question… what are you gonna do when the goals dry up? What are you gonna do differently this time? We know what’s going to happen because we’ve seen it already. Next time you’re on that 8 game skid in the regular season… are you going to panic again? Hopefully not. THAT didn’t work either. But what ARE you going to do? Next time you’re in a playoff series against a hot goalie or just a low scoring series against a great defensive team… what to do? How are you going to find a way to win when the goal dry up? I don’t know the answer to that question. Maybe you do. If the Caps go that route, I seriously hope SOMEBODY knows the answer.

  • DashingDave314

    Hope the Brouwer Rangers don’t see this. I agree- if there’s a good trade out there for Brouwer, do it. I think Wilson could basically be a better version of Brouwer (or Ward for that matter). I wouldn’t touch the third line though- when you have a line that’s that good, you don’t break it up. You keep it together and hope to create that chemistry on the other 3 lines. But of the third line, Ward is probably the most expendable.

  • Intheknow

    They are just a deliberate organization, which is OK as long as the end result is the right one. Nobody is making FA decisions now, no new coaches are being hired. I think the trade OVI front is real and is being discussed, hard to pull off, but I agree that Montreal makes some sense. If they do go down that road, I hope they do not insist on trading him out west for fear of him lighting them up, get the best return no matter where it comes from.

    I believe OVI running out of friends in room and Oates in Front Office.

  • Matt McNeely

    Scoar Moar Goals Capitals never answered that question.

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    You got your timeline mixed up. I think the Pronger extension was signed before the 2010 SCF.
    I agree, though, Holmgren also in the bottom 10 with McPhee, despite the one success that year.

  • DashingDave314

    Yes, you’re correct about Pronger’s deal. That’s when he started going downhill. Don’t believe me about how bad Holmgren is? Look at their cap space for next year and how many roster spots they have to fill, and factor in their RFA’s. Not hard to see how that could backfire on the Flyers.

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    The bottom line is McPhee has been given 17 years and appears, to this hockey watcher, to be in the bottom half of NHL GMs.
    I say, better to give someone else a chance on the grounds things could get better than to stay on a path when you know they won’t.
    There’s no law in the NHL that a team *must* keep the GM for an 18th year.

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    I’m not disagreeing. Holmgren, McPhee, Tallon and Rutherford are bottom 10, Lowe as well. Feaster and Gilles were bottom 10 but they’ve been removed, as was the guy Howsom in CBJ.

  • http://batman-news.com tominsocal1

    I’ll take 20+ GMs over McPhee but I would take McPhee over Holmgren, Lowe and Rutherford.

  • DashingDave314

    Alzner, Green, Carlson, Orlov. Could make an argument for Nate Schmidt, but not on the team technically.

  • DashingDave314

    Yup, it did. He came a long way this year too. By the end of season, Orlov was really looking good. Looked good when paired with Wey. Just don’t ever pair him with Green again.

  • Sarah

    Yeah, who *is* Peter Hasset? I’ve never heard of him. There’s a great guy named Hassett who runs a website that attracts millions of fans… but his stuff is probably above your reading level.
    Go back to Philadelphia.

  • Stevarooni

    My opinion is that [someone else] won’t necessarily get things better simply because they are someone else. I don’t know that GMGM won’t do better than [someone else] despite the allure of thinking so when looking at lists of his offenses. I think he’s definitely had more than his shotS but I personally wouldn’t get rid of him until I had the right [someone else]. And maybe that doesn’t get arranged until [Grabovski is signed] early next season(?) And with Ted even that certainly isn’t assured.

    It’s high time for a change, but I don’t want McPhee gone just to get rid of McPhee and when people write to fire him – period – that’s what I’m reading they want. I’d just as soon he be here next season than to bring in someone worse just to have someone else. I’d hope there’s someone better. Identified, Available, Willing, Now.

  • takethatsucka

    what do you mean, “you people”?

  • CadleCreek

    Future 2

    1) would argue that the have an obscene dearth of offensive talent. After Nick and Ovi, who is the offensive talent under contract?

    2) No rule that says you can’t be a great two way team and score more goals.

    top ten in goals this past year

    1 ANAHEIM 263
    2 CHICAGO 261
    3 BOSTON 258
    4 COLORADO 245
    5 PITTSBURGH 242
    6 SAN JOSE 239
    7 ST LOUIS 239
    8 PHILADELPHIA 233
    9 TAMPA BAY 232
    10 DALLAS 231

    There some teams on there that model what I would want to see.

    take Boston, St. Louis, Philthy and even Chicago and San Jose to a lesser degree.. teams that play high intensity heavy 2 way hockey for the most part. Dallas & Tampa(too bad about losing their goalie for playoffs) play some scrappy hockey too.

    You don’t need to sacrifice defense for offense. Good defense makes good offense but good defense takes effort.

    3) I honestly don’t think any team wins a cup with Ovi as the Captain. I know that is contrary to most on here but I know quite a few alumni with team connections and some guys still in the locker room. Some of the tidbits they share, don’t give me the impression that the locker room is cohesive.

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

    I said I don’t *fully* agree, not that I disagree. Saying someone is overrated or underrated is a complicated formula.

    It’s a comparison between how good you think someone is with how you think OTHER people think he is. Difficult calculation since everyone has a different context of chatter about that player.

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

    I did see a mean comment by that guy, and I deleted it.

  • DashingDave314

    1.) Kuznetsov, Brouwer, (possibly) Grabovski, not to mention an excellent third line, and Tom Wilson (assuming he’s utilized properly)

    2.) Actually, that’s what I want. The best teams don’t have to play much defense because their offense does such a good job possessing the puck. That’s what every team that you mentioned does so well. I like San Jose’s model the best, but that’s just me.

    You have it backwards. A good offense makes a good defense. Or at least a defense that doesn’t have to play much defense. The less defense you have to play, the better.

    3.) That’s extremely hard to say. I think with the right guys around him, Ovechkin is capable of leading this team to a Stanley Cup. We came darn close in 2009 and 2010. Had it not been for a stupid hot goalie and massive injuries, the Capitals probably would have at least made it to a Stanley Cup one of those two years. I think the locker room needs MORE leaders. Not enough guys taking responsibility for what they do.

  • DashingDave314

    Apologies. I have no problem with Sanchez as long as he keeps it civil. I’ll do my best to hold my end of the bargain.

  • DashingDave314

    Well said. Don’t fire GMGM to replace him with a bandaid. Replace him with a better GM. If they can’t do that, keep him.

  • CadleCreek

    when you don’t have clear possession of the puck you are on defense. the best teams get the puck back quickly. The ‘leaders’ on the Caps take a break. Defense is played for 200 feet. Good teams fore check(defense), angle/clog/trap/swarm the neutral zone and play cohesive 5 man defense inside their own zone leading to transition. The Caps for the most part are pretty bad in the neutral zone and terrible at transition. They are turnover machines trying to clear their own zone. That is bad defense that stymies offence. The other team is going to have the puck and get it in your zone but you need to be capable of getting the puck back and making 1-2 good passes to move the puck into the neutral zone with possession and speed. Good defense making good offence.

  • pixiestix

    frankly, even posting Ned on the chopping block is a spoiler for folks who haven’t finished the first season ಠ_ಠ

  • DashingDave314

    OK, I see your point. I think we can agree that, generally, good teams don’t play much defense because they dominate puck possession. That’s what the Capitals need to start doing again. I agree with you- good defense (namely forechecking and getting the puck out of the d-zone) leads to good offense.

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

    Cadle and I are on the same page, even if we disagree about what we wanna see happen with the Caps. That’s kinda what I mean by “the best defense is playing offense always.”

    There’s two ways to do that, and I happen to prefer the one that exploits what the franchise already has on its roster.

  • Diller M

    PHGM! Or is it GMPH either way is fine with me

  • DashingDave314

    To quote Buck Showalter:

    “I like our guys*”

    *Well, most of them anyway.

  • Peteo

    Ah America, the place where the people who scream the loudest about freedom of speech have the least idea what it means. Applause.

  • OVECHKING

    Could it not also be argued that where the caps lack is in players who can obtain the puck back to have possession? Yes the caps have a few great offensive players, but if they can’t get the puck (nicks poor on faceoffs, ovechkin poor neutral zone play) then how can they play offence and follow your philosophy?

    To stay on the offense and not play defense, one has to get to logically at some point obtain the puck. A lot of times initial puck possession occurs from a 50/50 play. Faceoffs, board battles, dump and chase… in a lot of these areas, the caps don’t succeed as well as other teams. Even under Bruce, they were not a good dump and chase team. Were better on faceoffs though. Their center depth is too weak now to call them a good faceoff team. Statistically this is also true. I don’t feel given the make up of the team now, they can be as good as they were under Bruce. Anthing less than that level playing a run and gun system will not be good enough for playoff hockey.

  • Bugs Fire

    If your point is that Capitals management of last 10+ years was not properly focused on winning the Stanley Cup, then I think you are right. You know that I agree with you wholeheartedly on how terribly this has ruined Ovie. But can we allow that hockey may be more to some people than just winning the Cup? Knowing that salary cap balances the league to the point where even best teams have maybe 1/10 chance of doing it (looking at the current playoffs I’d say this year’s winner comes from Bruins/Pens/Sharks/Blues/Hawks/Kings/Ducks list, maybe Avs/Wings/Rangers on the outside chance), focusing on the Cup as the only thing makes for a very grim existence. Not that there is anything wrong with it per se.

    Could you permit that others may not be so focused on the singular (yet admittedly very important) issue? No matter how bad was the management that put them in this situation, wasn’t it fun when Caps came back against Tampa on the back of 4 Ovie’s goals? Or ultimately pointless stand they took on the trip to California? Or Kuznetsov’s first NHL goal? If your glass is always half empty, it’s fine (mine is too), but people whose glass is always half full are no lesser humans than us.

    It’s only game? (Sorry, can’t resist)

  • Capper63

    Ehhh… Wizards fans were convinced that Ernie and Randy had to go. They were incompetent bums to be hated and loathed, and Washington would never see success with them. Ted was a buffoon for keeping them employed etc.
    Ted stayed the course and kept his long view, and the Wizards are now being touted as a team to be reckoned with for the next decade.
    What is interesting is how some “fans” simply use sports to channel their deep seeded negative emotions and pathologies. They do not know what to do now that the the Wizards are winning. They are miserable right now!!!!

  • Austin

    But what about the Brouwer Rangers, he’s a leader on our team if we have any

  • Capper63

    It is a dream sequence… You know Martin isn’t going to Kill Ned Stark off!

  • Josh Carey

    Here’s the difference. The Wizards have guys like Beal and Wall entering their prime and were just too young to compete last year. The Capitals have passed Ovechkin being in his prime and have nothing to show for it. Backstrom is getting older as well. Kuzya at least for now doesn’t appear to be an elite superstar like Wall/Beal/Ovechkin are/were. The Wizards are entering their prime while the Capitals are aging.

  • cobra617

    Honk for a fellow Whovian.

  • Progny

    I would agree with this generally, but most of the GM conversation is driven by the fact that McPhee’s contract is up. I don’t think Ted can keep resigning him for 1 year at a time like he’s Alex Semin until he finds someone else.

  • Eric Schulz

    I don’t know what point you are trying to make, necessarily. Let’s look at the talent on the roster… since we are assuming a new GM and new coach, let’s assume we can keep any pending FA if we want them (in Grabovski’s case, seems like a new coach means we can keep him, at least from what I’ve heard; not sure about the other guys, but for the sake of argument, let’s go with it).
    Okay, Ovechkin and Backstrom are obviously two of the better 1st line forwards in the league. We really don’t need more talent on that line, we just need a guy who can better complement them; in my opinion, that means Kuznetsov isn’t a great choice to complete that line (seems to me like you create better depth with him on the 2nd also; if the top line is those 3, you create more of a one-line team dynamic). Fehr seems a nice choice as far as the advanced stats go; he drives puck possession, so if he’s on that line, then the line gets more puck possession, leading to less defense for Ovie, and more offense from those two. Penner looks like a nice choice to my eyes; he forechecks relentlessly, he is very skilled so he isn’t going to hurt that line by lacking the talent to finish or create even if he won’t generate tons of points, and his size is an asset that should make for even easier goals for Ovie when he screens; he should win a lot of board battles too, but I haven’t seen enough to be confident that he’s as good along the boards as he is forechecking. Either choice gives us a great top line that possess the puck a lot.
    For the 2nd, it would seem like Grabovski at C with Kuznetsov on his wing again gives the Caps a better-than-average C and W for the 2nd (better than the average team’s 2nd line C and best W on the 2nd… or at least not worse than average, depending on Kuznetsov’s development). They, like Backstrom and Ovechkin, are skilled scorers that can direct a lot of shots at the opposing team’s net, but again I think we need a complement for them, a guy who can retrieve the puck and help drive possession, whether it’s winning board battles to keep the puck in the offensive zone, or being good enough in the defensive zone that we are rarely there for long. Here, I think, is where we are really hurt by the decline of Laich; in his prime, I think he gave us a really nice piece, whether we would use him here as the complementary piece on the 2nd, or the primary piece on the 3rd. But we still have some options; Wilson is a monster hitter, has great speed (for any size), and has flashed some great skill. It’s impossible to know if he can drive possession yet thanks to Oates, but it’s easy to imagine that he can add a physical element on that line that completes it. Brouwer, also, is a power forward that you can pencil in for 20+ goals every year, and I think he could fit here as well. Also, if you keep Penner, Fehr fits here just as well as on the top line, of course.
    Now, for the 3rd, you have either Brouwer or Wilson, or both if you resigned Penner (or one and Fehr if you pushed Fehr to the 3rd). For the bottom-6, in addition to those one or two guys, you have Chimera and Ward; they are overrated after having a lucky season with regards to PDO, but they are certainly solid 3rd liners, which means they are excellent 4th liners. Beagle is probably an average 4th liner. That would be an above average 4th, although we could probably even scratch Beagle and use Latta, who seems like he’d be an above average 4th line C based on his AHL season… if not, then he’s still at least average, and we still have an above average 4th. Johansson has a lot of skill even if it hasn’t really resulted in production on the ice, but he was quite good his rookie year; I chalk up his regression to coaching, so again, a new coach, IMO, pushes him up to at least an average 3rd liner (I think he should be able to be very similar to Perreault and provide above-average 3rd line production – not on Perreault’s level, but close), but his floor should be average 3rd. With the other wingers being at least borderline 2nd liners (Brouwer, Fehr, and/or Wilson), we should have an above average 1st, an above average 3rd, an above average 4th… so, maybe only an average 2nd, again depending on Kuznetsov’s development. Laich is a major wild card here too; he seemed to be rebounding before he had surgery. If he heals during his long offseason, he can really give us a major boost.
    possible 1sts:
    Penner – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Fehr
    possible 2nds:
    Penner – Grabovski – Kuznetsov
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Fehr
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Wilson
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Brouwer
    possible 3rds:
    Brouwer – Johansson – Wilson
    Brouwer – Laich – Wilson
    Brouwer – Latta – Wilson
    Fehr – Johansson – Wilson
    Fehr – Laich – Wilson
    Fehr – Latta – Wilson
    Fehr – Johansson – Brouwer
    Fehr – Laich – Brouwer
    Fehr – Latta – Brouwer
    Laich – Johansson – Fehr
    Laich – Johansson – Brouwer
    Laich – Johansson – Wilson
    possible 4ths:
    Chimera – Laich – Ward
    Chimera – Johansson – Ward
    Chimera – Latta – Ward
    Chimera – Beagle – Ward
    and that’s not even taking into account the possible ascension of Burakovsky (I didn’t think he’d be NHL-ready this coming season, but he’s making a great case so far), and the development of Chris Brown (I think he’ll be at least an above average 4th… but I like Ward there, so unless we use Brown and center in the case that he proves better than Latta, I don’t see where he fits).
    Of all the options, my favorite is probably:
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Fehr
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Wilson
    as much as I’d love to keep Penner, we may be better off moving Ovie back to LW, and since Wilson and Kuznetsov played a large percentage of their minutes together (and, at least on paper, are great complements to one another) I like them together, which means
    Laich – Johansson – Brouwer
    Chimera – Latta – Ward
    I know Laich and Brouwer played badly together, but I think it’s a different story if Laich is healthy; if not, then we could easily swap
    Johansson – Latta – Brouwer
    Chimera – Laich – Ward
    that would also work if Laich is still banged up, although if that’s the case, it’s probably a 4th line C rotation of Laich/Beagle.

    Although, if Laich isn’t healthy (and/or we buy him out), we could keep Penner and:
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Penner
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Wilson
    Johansson – Fehr – Brouwer
    Chimera – Latta – Ward
    to me, that’s a team that you can roll four lines with, and should be able to dominate possession with (again, depending on Kuznetsov’s development; his possession numbers sucked, but small sample size. With his skill, you have to think he’s much better over an entire season, and I’d expect something like 20 goals and 55 points from him next year).
    Then on defense, Alzner – Carlson is a legit (if underrated) top pairing, and Green is certainly an above average 2nd pairing guy, even if his limitations means that we need to carefully select his partner. Stay-at-home 2nd pairing defenders aren’t hard to find, despite GMGM’s inability to do so. That’s clearly an area of need, but not one that should be hard to fill in FA (even if it’s a weak FA class as far as defenders go). We could easily trade for one too, even if we wait for the deadline; this last year, Nick Schultz, Tom Gilbert, Andrei Meszaros, and Stephane Robidas we are available for a 3rd rounder or less (also, Carrick seems like an obvious redundancy, so he definitely should be available in a trade, as well as our 2nd-tier prospects; IMO, those guys that aren’t: Burakovsky, Barber, Bowey. Those 3 may be my only untouchables among prospects; I’m not counting Orlov, Kuznetsov, Wilson, Grubauer, or Schmidt as prospects, but if you do, then sure, those also… although you could argue for moving Schmidt rather than Carrick. I like Stephenson, but with Latta, Brown, and him, I think those 3 could all fill roughly the same role, so you can trade any, just not ALL. Same with some other prospects. Those 3 are the only ones I see that aren’t “easily” replaceable). And Green’s health problems the last few years are a concern, but Orlov, our OFD on the 3rd pair, is probably more than capable of stepping into Green’s shoes when Green is hurt, and then filling Carlson’s role as the 2nd PP unit’s QB when Carlson steps into Green’s vacated spot on the 1st PP unit. I’d probably pair Orlov with Hillen, and use Oleksy as a scratch, for:
    Alzner – Carlson
    X – Green
    Orlov – Hillen
    and when Green’s hurt:
    Alzner – Carlson
    Orlov – X
    Hillen – Oleksy
    not an overwhelming defense, but plug in the right guy to “X” and that can easily become a strength of the team.
    With Holtby and Grubauer in net we aren’t hurting there, although signing a veteran backup would be excellent (particularly if we resign Halak; just about a 0% chance we do if Oates and GMGM stays, but we are assuming they go… with a new GM and coach, who knows if Halak would stay? Certainly possible). If we keep our core together, all we really need is that “X” defender to become at least a fringe contender… a great (as opposed to good) coach would probably be enough as well… both would make us contenders again. A return to health from Green and Laich (or just one) would be huge and would definitely vault us, IMO, back to the late-aught heydays, but even without that I think we can be fine.
    A great coach and a great GM would easily make us contenders again; obviously a great GM gets us the right “X” defender, and a great coach utilizes our roster properly… a great GM maybe moves a few pieces around, which doesn’t really prove your point to be wrong… but I think we could easily build a contender around the core we have, and we actually have enough prospects now that we can move a bunch for help now and still not fall off when our current guys decline, because of youth like Kuznetsov, Wilson, Johansson, Burakovsky, Barber, Latta, Brown, Orlov, Schmidt, Bowey, and a handful of other prospects (not ALL of them will develop, of course – I’m sure few of you who read this… probably few will anyway, but w/e… think Johansson will develop into a great complementary player even – but enough of them should to stave off a team decline).

  • alchemistmuffin

    And age is what’s keeping the organization from advancing further. All the other members of Met division have young talents. I don’t see that from the Caps organization. It might be demeaning to Ovi, and probably most of fans here, but I think it’s time he get the boot. The only solution here is to find the next russian hero (or from other country) who is just like Ovi back in his prime.

  • Rhino40

    um…Zhenya?

  • Rtnrlfy

    As a Montreal fan I’ll gratefully decline. I don’t think he’d be an asset and our team culture is right where it needs to be (witness the sweep of the Bolts, although I’m not sure we can hold up to the big bad Bruins). I’d rather see the Habs work to keep Vanek and add a few other pieces to enhance what we have.

  • DashingDave314

    Kuzya will be very good. They have guys like Burakovsky, Barber, Bowey, Stephenson, Wilson, Latta, and Carrick in their system. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train… hopefully.

  • DashingDave314

    First off, wow you just published a book, congratulations sir!

    I think that the ?-19-8 line needs guy who can make plays, and more importantly, carry the puck in the offensive zone. That’s something that Ovechkin struggles with. Kuzy is a good fit in that role, IMHO. So there’s your first line.

    Second line: As a huge Wilson fan, I love your idea to put Wilson on the second line, but let’s ease the cement foot off the gas pedal a tad bit. Keep Brouwer on the second line. Grabovski is your center. If no other moves are made, MoJo would be the best fit for the LW spot. I’d prefer someone who’s more of a scoring threat while still having the ability to carry the puck into the O-zone. Off the top of my head, Mike Cammalleri or Matt Moulson would be good fits.

    Third line: Wilson is the obvious choice for right wing. Fehr is a solid choice at center. I think I’d like Johansson in the LW role.

    Fourth line: Try to trade Ward. If you can’t, oh well, I suppose we could live with an awesome fourth line right wing. Chimera at left wing, Latta at center, Ward/whoever at RW.

    So forward lines:
    Kuzy-Super Swede-Great 8
    Free agent-Grabo-Brouwer
    MoJo-F16-Wilson
    Chimmers-WholeLattaLovin-Wardo/*insert right wing here*

    As far as D…

    Alzner-Green needs to be a thing again. I hate breaking up the Carlzner bromance, but it must be broken up for the greater good.

    Carlson is your third top 4 D. A 4th one should probably be signed. As to who that guy is, heck if I know. Carlson’s offense is his strength, so I’d like a stay at home D who would allow Carlson to be able to play up. Sort of the same logic as putting Green and Alzner together.

    Orlov and Wey should be a thing, but I’d like to see the Capitals add Anton Stralman to sort of rotate with Wey.

    Goalie:

    Start Holtby or we riot. Grubauer is ready to backup.

    The team’s better off than most people think. A few relatively minor changes have to be made, and BAM this team’s ready to contend again. They do need a front office that is capable of making those changes though.

  • Eric Schulz

    First of all, Kuznetsov got crushed in possession this season. Small sample size, but I don’t think he’s a guy who’s going to win board battles, or take the puck away in the neutral zone and on D. I don’t know why you’d want him on the top line. I’d want him with Grabovski on the 2nd, to benefit from Ovie and Backstrom drawing the other team’s top shutdown unit.
    As far as Wilson v Brouwer… I have no problem, of course, with Wilson on 3rd with Brouwer on 2nd. That makes sense, except again, I think flipping them creates stronger depth, and also I like that Kuznetsov and Wilson have played together before. Also, I think I’d rather start the season with that, and if that line doesn’t click after 10 games or so, you can just bump Wilson back down to 3rd.
    You said Free Agent. Yeah, I was working only with our guys (I added FA “X” on defense, but that’s because that’s the one area that we *cannot* address in house… even if we let Penner go, we can roll 4 good lines)… I like keeping Penner over any other free agent, probably, although once the unrestricted free agency period starts, maybe I’ll be surprised by some names out there.
    On defense… Alzner and Carlson are like Backstrom and Ovechkin. They have shown, over a rather large sample size, that they are better together than they are apart; they are more than the sum of their parts. It’s not smart to break them up, it hurts the team. I don’t see why you’d think it important enough to flip Carlson with Green; obviously we agree the important thing is adding the 4th top-4 stay-at-home guy…
    We kind of are good in goal, but beyond our top 2, it’s thin. So, I’d like to have another guy, that way we could still have a solid rotation if one guy gets hurt. I think we *may* have the money to keep Halak; if so, that would be, IMO, excellent. I don’t want to relegate Holtby, but I think having those two splitting goaltending duties would make the team stronger. I like a 1A/1B situation there… and if one gets hurt, Grubauer is a strong backup to the uninjured one. However, if money is an issue, we could still sign a veteran guy to backup Holtby, that way if Holtby gets hurt, we’d still have two NHL-caliber goalies, rather than being forced to have Grubauer start, and relying on an AHL goalie to back him up. (Off the top of my head, I don’t even know who that would be; Anderson?)

  • Eric Schulz

    I’ll try to sum up:
    I just don’t like 3 guys who need the puck all on the same line. I know Ovie isn’t the puck carrier that he used to be, but I just think that having Kuz Nasty on the top line hurts, because I think he gets more chance to control the puck on the 2nd line. I’d rather have a guy who can help the team without needing the puck on his stick in the offensive zone. Fehr drives possession, so he fits; Penner is a big body who forechecks well. Based on the eye test, I’d love Penner there, and Fehr on the 2nd is great. However, with our lack of centers, we could easily go with Brouwer/Wilson on 2nd/3rd RW, with 2nd being, of course, Kuz Nasty and Grabovski, with Fehr centering Johansson and Brouwer/Wilson on the 3rd. That leaves, of course, Chimera – Latta – Ward as the 4th.
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Penner
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Wilson
    Johansson – Fehr – Brouwer
    Chimera – Latta – Ward
    (Beagle is scratched… if Wilson isn’t ready for 2nd, fine, but I still say give him the shot… if he can’t hack it, no biggie, just flip him and Brouwer.) Brown is the first callup, and I like Stoa and Wellman as well, as long as it’s in small doses.
    We agree top 4 D is Alzner, Carlson, Green, + a FA. We have a lot of guys to choose from to complete the 3rd. Orlov + one of 5 or so nice choices (Hillen, Wey, Oleksy, Brouillette maybe even… Schmidt, perhaps? I don’t love the fit, I prefer DFD and OFD… but on the 3rd, perhaps those two drive possession such that we are on offensive so much it doesn’t matter).
    The big question… Laich. I like him, but I didn’t include him here. If I was the GM, I DON’T buy him out this offseason… honestly, if we are as good on the cap this next season as I think we are (even after resigning, at least in my scenario, Grabovski and Penner, plus adding the top-4 D-man), then I think we can afford to keep Laich, and just enter the year with the plan to shut him down for the entire year. Let him fully recover… maybe 50 games into the season, let him play some AHL games, and see how he feels. A lot of people focus on how much money he is being paid, and think he’s hurting us; if we have as much cap room as I think, I don’t think it matters. He’s overpaid, but if his contract doesn’t prevent us from adding what we need – and I really don’t think it does – then there’s no reason to jettison him. We could just baby him, and if he heals such that we feel comfortable that he can play regularly again, then that makes Johansson even more expendable, and he can go back to being a super 3rd liner. (Laich – Fehr – Wilson?) If Burakovsky develops… maybe he takes Johansson’s spot, and we move MoJo anyway… but either way, having Laich is a worthwhile gamble if he doesn’t hinder our ability to sign or add players; I don’t think he will. Even just having him rest most of the season wouldn’t hurt… worst case, we are no worse off for having him; best case, he gives us more depth.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jennrubenstein jennrubenstein

    abnegation?! i see what you did there…

  • http://www.twitter.com/jennrubenstein jennrubenstein

    can’t hold it back anymore…

  • OVECHKING

    Fair enough! Can’t argue with your point. I respect people who can view it just as entertainment, it allows you to turn away from the negativity. I feel i’ve gone too far at times.

  • Doublenickelporn

    Seriously?

  • Austin

    Yes seriously, he’s more of leader than ovechkin. Ovechkin is a goal scorer and that is all he should be, not a motivational player. Not saying Brouwer is all that and a bag of chips (lol) but he fits the captain “mold” more.

  • Kevin F.

    OVI is not the problem and have you been watching the playoffs, if we were the “run and gun” Caps of old (which we can be again) we would have a fair chance in these playoffs. I agree with going the route of choice 2!

  • VirginiaPatriot

    And my totally uninformed postulation was completely way off base. That is why I don’t write a blog.

  • Jonah

    believe me peter ill be sobbing right with you. of course it’ll be my 6th grade self who was completely naive and had no idea about hockey outside of OV’s “the goal”