The home team led their lower-seeded opponent three games to one. Then the goalie got hot.

In those final games, the opposing goalie put up a brick wall and his defense kept shots to the outside. Despite a massive advantage in possession, the home team– a favorite to win the Cup– lost game seven.

Despair reigned. The team’s star, an exemplar of offense, failed to score when it counted most. The team’s goalie looked manifestly flawed.

So the team looked inward. Where did we go wrong? Is this the wrong way to play? Who do we blame?

All the eyes turned to the coach.

It took another year and a half before the Capitals fired Bruce Boudreau. It was the biggest mistake the franchise made in a decade.

How long before Pittsburgh fires Dan Bylsma? Asking for a friend.

Infinite chugging GIF by the incomparable Steph

(Note that Ray Shero isn’t on that cover and there’s no insert of Jordan Staal wearing a Carolina uniform.)

I hope Dick Patrick has Dan’s cell phone number.

  • Owen Johnson

    Look at Ovechkin here. He is yelling at his coach. He is an insubordinate coach killer who has no business being the captain of an NHL team

    Wait. That’s NOT Ovechkin?

  • Ben E.

    I want all of the Penguins castoffs. Botterill/Bylsma or Shero/Bylsma would be fun here.

  • I feel like Bylsma shaved off his “playoff goatee” during the 2nd intermission. haha.

  • VeggieTart

    Nobody said anything when Crosby yelled at Bylsma. But Ovi muttering “fat fuck” when Boudreau held him out of a crucial pulled-goalie situation became analyst fodder.

    As for Bylsma, I’m of two minds. Sure he hasn’t gotten out of the second round in years, but what if he had a different team…. Guess I’ll just wait and see.

  • Cooke

  • Even I thought Ovi was a creep for that fat F line. I would’ve benched his ass.

  • Rob W.

    Cant wait to see how the media blames everyone but their golden boy crysby over the next few days

  • Owen Johnson

    Keith Jones was actually ripping Crosby apart in the postgame.

  • Ben E.

    Add: Niskanen, Kulemin, Bylsma, Shero/Botterill. Boom, there’s your cup contender.

  • Rob W.

    I didnt watch postgame stuff but i have always liked Jones

  • Can we all just take minute to feel bad for all the babies out there tonight? They are the ones being compared to Crosby and I for one feel bad for them.

  • Owen Johnson

    Well Milbury wasn’t there, though I wish he was.
    Jones basically said Cosby was clearly frustrated and instead of rising above it like he should have, he let it get in his head.
    Edit: I mean Crosby.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    i’m panting like a dog. and it ain’t cuz of the heat.

  • Shea Angus

    How does everyone feel about Shero’s job security and possibly being involved with the Caps?

  • Owen Johnson

    Hoping Ted is ready to break out the old wallet.

  • Lawrence

    How does anyone know that’s what ovi said? How do we know he wasn’t yelling something in russian?

    You really think Bylsma would be a good coach for us? Because imo the pens would be right in firing Bylsma, the guy has the 2nd best roster in the league and they have meltdown after meltdown, same story different year. What did he do for the US during the Olympics? Another meltdown. Coincidence or not? All I know is, pens fans have hated this guy for years now and I think they have legitimate reasons. His system consists of dump and chase hockey, relying on the pp and star players, his roster decisions are very questionable and he prefers old vets past their prime to young players, sound familiar?

  • VeggieTart

    Cooke can keep his filthy ass in Minnesota. Ugh.

  • johnnymorte

    Ray Schero yes, Bylsma no way. Don’t even go there. Yes, I know he got a lot of wins pretty fast but his teams have defensive problems which is why they have failed to win since ’09. Bylsma is 27-27 in the playoffs since winning the Stanley Cup.. His teams are 1-6 in elimination games on home ice.Malkin was a beast that year and the team’s overall success is a testament to Schero’s team building talents.

  • Michael Reschly

    For being upset at being benched for a critical OZ draw? Or for the way he expressed his displeasure?

  • DC Hockey Nut

    As much as I… well I’m not sure if I hate saying this or not, or for what reason, but I do not think that Bylsma will get the axe. Regardless of how the pens have done these last few postseasons, the fact remains that they really are perennial cup contenders. Nobody counts out the Pens from any conversation regarding the Cup, and that’s not something that can be said of most teams* in the NHL. Much of that is, true enough, due to the players they have. A whopping crapton of it is due to Bylsma however. Unless he’s lost the locker room entirely, he’ll still be in pittsburgh come the start of next season. If I were a smart GM, I’d try and shop Fleury for someone else. MAF cannot stand the pressure of trying to win a second cup with essentially the same team, which in many cases can be more than winning the first.

    *Ours included… the Caps have never been taken seriously on a unilateral level in the media short of two times: one, when they actually made it to the finals, and just before the start of the playoffs after winning the pres. trophy.

    That being said, as much as y’all want Bylsma, I’m not sure I want him if he does get fired. The logical part of me says yes, Bylsma’s a proven coach that knows how to utilize the talent at his disposal (IE, the opposite of Adam Oates.) The Caps fan in me says hell no, he’ll always have that penguin stink about him; like cooties, only far more virulent.

  • Ash

    I dunno, I gotta disagree, especially for something that everyone just assumed he was saying. I’d prefer Ovi be angry. I want Ovi to want to be out on the ice every minute; I want him to want to play.

    I can understand feeling annoyed about it being public and not diplomatic but… I don’t know, I feel like he’s rarely directly criticized his coaches, and I can’t get too bent out of shape by him swearing in the heat of the moment during a high emotion event, and not even directly at the coach.

  • Being upset is good. Expressing it as insubordination is toxic– in my experience at least.

  • I’m usually all about epistemological restraint, but he definitely said “fat F” that time.

  • Sarah

    +1 billion for use of Bosch

  • Matt Lauer

    Surely Sid’s inability to show up in Game 7s will engender a tidal wive of overblown criticism that will completely overlook the fact that hockey is a team-oriented sport. Right? RIGHT?!!!?

  • Owen Johnson

    But Jagr was such a success here… oh wait

  • Sarah

    Maybe I’m the only one here who’s squishy enough to think like this, but there should be a level of the inferno for people who ask questions like “what the price might be” twenty minutes after a game seven home loss. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled for the Rangers and I can’t stand Crosby and most of his crew. And I know NHL head coaches expect this, and beat journalists have to get quotes.
    But whoever asked Bylsma about his impending decapitation should end up in some Boschian scene like the above, with an infernal iPhone stuck in his face, and herds of sober-suited imps asking questions like, “I see that Merglflaxl the Ungodly is chewing your private parts with three of his seven heads. How is that affecting your well being?”

  • Diller M

    Right now were system less and on the way down. If Bylsma would bring us back to failing in e second round while playing entertaining hockey, count me in!

  • Chris Cerullo

    Sid the kid struggles against tough, physical, defensively responsible teams. Hasn’t done well against the Rags, B’s or Habs in recent series.

  • PucktotheHead

    For the love of God please stop with the Bylsma talk. The Caps absolutely do not want this guy. Holy shit. We just got rid of Dan Jr. in Oates and Bylsma is Oates with a Cup to his name. He is inflexible and doesn’t adapt during the coarse of play. Did you all not watch 7 games here?? Pens fans have hated the guy for some time now and probably want to string him up now.

    Just say no to Dan.

  • Fedor

    Shero is a terrible drafter, hilariously bad.
    And he likes to acquire slow, washed-up veterans for top prospects. If you give him Caps’ prospect pool, he’ll ruin it in a minute.
    DO. NOT. WANT.

  • VeggieTart

    The camera focused on him; you don’t have to be an expert lip reader to know that’s what he said.

    And my point isn’t that he did it but that Crosby gets away with all sorts of crap because he’s Canadian Hockey Jesus while Ovi is excoriated for anything he does.

  • Michael Reschly

    Agree that insubordination is toxic — but I’m not sure why you consider this insubordination. I see this as the equivalent of a goalie slamming his stick after being yanked. Of course he’s upset, but you don’t hold his reaction against him tomorrow. Maybe have a quiet 1-on-1 conversation about it or the reasons for the decision, but otherwise let it drop.

  • Brackaphobia

    Nothing important to say. Just going to leave this here:

  • Let’s get him

    If he gets fired I could see him go to Carolina. With Jordan staal there he already knows what he is getting and he also has Eric staal, skinner, semin, and ward in net. Pretty good lineup.

  • Lawrence

    Haha, I hear ya, but our roster is a lot worse than the pens has been these last 5 years. I really like Bylsma’s personality and during 24/7 I liked a lot of the things he was doing, but the results just aren’t there. I am not sure he be the wrong coach for us, but if I had to guess I would say he is wrong.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Even when they won their cup in 09, the Wings largely neutralized Sid with Zetterberg playing physical against him. It was Malkin we couldn’t stop and Fleury playing out of his mind.

  • Shaun Phillips

    I’d much rather have Trotz than Bylsma. Given what each coach has had to work with, I’d say Trotz is the more adaptable coach. With the Caps having a roster that can look dramatically different depending on who is in the lineup/injured, I think that’s a key trait to have in the next coach.

  • johnnymorte

    Dude, I appreciate your POV on Shero’s drafting abilities, but we’re talking about a guy that presided over two trips to the finals, one SC, and is a perennial cup contender. Results are what matters, not drafting, and Shero delivered the goods. McPhee is an excellent drafter and we have a giant goose egg when it comes to finals appearances. You can grow your own wheat, but you can’t have cereal without milk.


    How is BB doing these days by the way?

  • GetchaGrubbOn

    Didn’t realize I wasn’t logged in when I upvoted as a guest. Here, have another. You’ve earned it, kid.

  • GetchaGrubbOn

    If only they had the Rocket Richard winner on their team that NBCsports could rail against as the reason they are garbage. But they have Sid, so….you won’t be hearing anything about anyone named Sid….

  • Rhino40

    Oh this is priceless, Sarah….ROTGDFLMMFAO….the Boschian reference…hee…hee…hoo…hee…hoohoo…heehee….

    Let the next few days be celebrated as “Schädenfreude Week!!!

  • Rhino40

    Oooh…they are so going to fire him for that!

  • Rhino40

    Agree 6.02 X 10²³%–No to Bylsma, but for slightly different reasons.

    As I said in an earlier post: absolutely, positively NOTHING GOOD can come of having Dan Bylsma as head coach of the Washington Capitals. I feel almost as strongly re: the Torts-feasor. The history of sport in Washington is littered with the wreckage that comes of having an Enemy brought in as head coach. (c.f. Norv. Turner).

    Now if y’all don’t mind, I’d prefer to get back to celebrating the Penguins’ epic fail.

  • Rhino40

    Trotz is strange looking…but yeah, maybe.

  • Rhino40

    +1 Godzillion to that last sentence.

    Once a Penguin, forever an Enemy.

  • Rhino40

    SMH…surely you’re not serious Peter. And if you are, this would have to be one of the few times I must (respectfully) disagree with you.

    After multiple suspensions despite membership in The League’s NBC’s Most Beloved Franchise™, I can just see what would would happen if Cookie the Anger Penguin Wild comes back to Washington:

    Ovechkin, Bäckstrom, Kuznetsov and Holtby would all get simultaneously suspended 25 games just for being on the same roster.

    Pittsburgh didn’t need Cooke anymore because Shero & Bylsma realized that Sid-the-Id, Kunitz, and Letang are more than capable of taking their very own cheap-shots, thankyouverymuch. And they can do it without even getting penalized, much less suspended!

  • Rhino40

    “Canadian Hockey Jesus” LOL….LMAO….

  • Rhino40

    Surprised that there aren’t….NOPE.

    Not gonna jinx it.

  • Rhino40

    I have the rest of the week off from work and the Penguins have been eliminated.

    There is a God,after all!

  • Jonah

    Looks like the pens need to give up star power to get playoff grit and proven cup winner!
    James Neal traded for Brouwer #thebank

  • Rhino40

    But that would mean no more #brouwerbombs=sadz

  • Shero got Malkin and Crosby by being bad (just as the Caps got Ovechkin). I’m not sure if it’s right to credit Shero with that.

  • Oh, I’m kidding.

  • TR

    One thing that irked me after the game. Had this been the Caps losing who would the camera have been focused on after the loss and how many people would have been saying “Oh another loss for number 8!”

    Where last night Crosby’s face was no where to be seen on camera and no mention as to how few goals he scored or criticism that he didn’t play up to his potential.

    Don’t get me wrong, Ovi does deserve some criticism. It drives me crazy watching him float around sometimes but Crosby gets treated like royalty by the media and they take every opportunity to poke Ovi when they get the chance.

  • Shaun Phillips

    He’s definitely an odd-looker, but his team is always tough to play against and, given the talent he had to work with, I think he usually overachieved. The same can’t be said for Bylsma & talent. Think his biggest failure is the US national team where he was outcoached.

  • When a goalie slams his stick, he’s not slamming it on a person– and definitely not a person who is supposed to give orders. That’s the difference to me.

  • Jonah

    Brouwer is slow over rated and a bad influence in the locker room. He’s only here because he was duster on the cup winning team and he’s a “veteran”. After I ignore the Brouwer rangers I don’t see a single reason for him to be here. Wilson is a better skater grinder and trigger man on the pp. Browsers only goals were from the slot in the pp and ward fehr and willy can do it better.
    Trade the bum for a solid d man

  • Soaked in Sarcasm

    Hey, don’t bash on Cindy, dude. He is the most dynamic player in the world, a stand up guy who never complains to refs and ALWAYS plays defense. Oh yeah, he never hides behind Kunitz when play gets tough, either. And if he ever plays bad, he’s recovering from an injury.

  • BigRest

    Huh? Crosby was absolutely criticized in both series. A lot, deservedly. The media in Pittsburgh has been very critical of him and the rest of their stars. Your post is simply untrue.

  • yv

    After such monumental collapses, like by Pens, Sharks, Avs, Blues, maybe Kings, and wasted two-goals leads probably in every second game of the playoffs, Caps beginning to look less dysfunctional then perceived before!?
    And Crosby has again confirmed that Malkin is the player who usually able to carry Pens, including during Pens SC run.

  • IafrateNoGhosts

    Crosby is is a combined -10 +/- in the playoffs the past 3 years combined. -4 this year alone. It’s painfully obvious that he is a one dimensional player that has no heart and is awful defensively. An enigmatic, coach-killing one-trick pony that is only good on the power play.

  • Bilal

    I swear…….I have heard that somewhere before……..Where was it……Nah I got nothing

  • IafrateNoGhosts

    That’s the joke

  • Graham Dumas

    Is he still wearing his hockey pads under those trousers? Or does he just have MASSIVE cankles?

  • Graham Dumas

    I don’t know who this person is on tweeter, or whatever, but he appears to be some sort of genius, as well as a master prognosticator:

    There's only one thing to say about the #Penguins if you're a #Caps fan:— ГрэМститель (@Gremstitel) May 14, 2014

  • ChoppinBroccoli

    John Stevens?

  • Timmay

    The article makes it sound like a bad thing that the Capitals fired Boudreau. How many cups has he won? How many times has he made it passed the 2nd round? Just saying…
    The Capitals problems then & now extend way beyond the coach. See also: the GM, goaltending, etc.

  • Timmay

    Bylsma didn’t fare much better w/ team USA. They were terrific in early round robin games, then fizzled out in the medal round and walked away with nothing. Sound familiar?

  • Timmay

    Ovi must be in his foursome. His form looks a little better than Crosby’s because he’s already been at it for 3 weeks

  • Owen Johnson

    Avogadro’s Number?

  • Sarah

    Yes. This is one of the geekier blogs you can find on the subject of hockey, which is one reason I love it. (goes back to playing Dungeons and Dragons or something)

  • Jeanne Blue

    Really crappy day (literally) at work, and I left growling. I feel so much happier now. Trouble in PensLand? Crosby losing his magic touch and his magical promoter(NBC)? Bylsma, a smart, offensive coach who doesn’t seem to be offensively smart might be available? I can live with that.
    And Bruce is still alive, and Joel Ward is kicking ass (I know its for Canada) and the Bruins could lose tonight.
    Life is not all bad, ladies and gentlemen.

  • Graham Dumas

    Yeah, but do you know the song?

  • Sarah

    I do now. That is impressively geeky, young man.

  • Sir Schadenfreade

    Never have I wanted someone to cut Pens footage to a song so badly. In fact, I’ve never wanted it before, but now I have, and boy would that be nice.

  • Graham Dumas

    I aim to please.

  • Graham Dumas

    Best Grateful Dead album cover artist… EVER.

  • Eric Schulz

    When the goalie slams his stick, it’s a reaction to what his coach – the person giving the orders – is doing. It’s the same. Ovechkin wasn’t yelling AT Boudreau, same as a goalie isn’t HITTING Boudreau (or whatever coach)… it’s not insubordination, it’s just letting off steam. No biggie if it doesn’t fester.

  • Eric Schulz

    Was gonna make the exact same point. He drafted Crosby and Malkin? Brilliant analysis! He must’ve had the most experienced, and expensive, scouting staff in the business.

  • Eric Schulz

    We need him to stay the fuck away… he’s not a good coach.

  • Eric Schulz

    To go after a good GM. Shero isn’t one.

  • Sam

    Am I missing the inside joke of the “escape goat” thing?

  • Pat Magee

    Exactly. Emotions run really high in this sport, and they get the best of most of us. (Lucic in the handshake line last night)

  • Shmoo

    Well, how far did we go with Ray Liotta?
    Oates was totes Liottes with the adaptability of dead goats.

  • Rhino40

    Yeah. I had to indicate how massively I agreed with PucktotheHead’s post. But I also wanted to use a real number this time as opposed to a “Gazillion” (How many is a “Gazillion” anyway? 10 to the $%@ power? And how many actual tons are there in a “f***-ton”?)

  • Rhino40

    Sorry, but no to Shero as well. IMHO the Penguins won their most recent Cup only because Ray Shero signed a pact with Satan. And now the bill is coming due for that Faustian bargain.

    Given the Caps’ own history of frustration, they should not tempt the anger of the hockey gods–nor of Almighty God–by having Shero as GM. Otherwise, they risk the Verizon center looking like that Bosch painting every game night.

  • Rhino40

    OK Peter….but I had to make sure, because you forgot to use the “Sarcasmé mark” [“Ø”].

  • Owen Johnson

    I work at Trader Joe’s. We have a guacamole called “Avocado’s Number.” Seriously.