Trotz MacLellan (7 of 13)

Photo: Chris Gordon

Alex Ovechkin is the most important person under contract with the Washington Capitals, more pivotal than either the general manager or the head coach. Signed to a 13-year, $124 million dollar deal in 2008, Ovechkin has become the Caps. His jersey sales sustain the team off the ice while his goal scoring provides the plurality of their offense. The preeminent task for his coach, then, is to manage him effectively. Barry Trotz, hired Monday by Washington, will now have to do that.

“It starts with a relationship,” Trotz told reporters from the Verizon Center club level yesterday. “I know I’m going to work at that but it can’t happen until I have a relationship with him because there’s no trust. For me Alex has to trust that I’m giving him the best advice for the team, for him, to grow his game. I don’t know Alex as well. Going against him, I know what he does well, but I need to know Alex the person. Coaching’s not just about Xs and Os, it’s about people.”

Trotz is a defense-first coach, which could create some problems with Ovechkin. The last defensive coach the team had, Dale Hunter, reined in Ovi in pursuit of fewer goals allowed. Bruce Boudreau tried to do the same thing at the end of his tenure. What resulted was a disgruntled captain and the two worst seasons of the Russian’s career. Instead, Trotz will need to institute a careful balancing act with Ovechkin and rest of the team.

“One of the things people think is defense is just backing up,” Trotz said. “That’s not it at all.”

“You can’t play uptempo if you can’t break out of your own zone effectively,” he continued. “You can’t play uptempo if you don’t have the puck. To me uptempo means that you want be able to break out of your own zone effectively, make good decisions through the neutral zone, and get it to the other end you can create some offense.”

Having a good dynamic with Ovechkin isn’t everything. While Adam Oates was an Ovechkin-whisperer, texting the captain late at night sometimes and getting him to change his position, the rest of the team struggled. So, too, did Ovi at everything that didn’t involve scoring power play goals. While Oates and Ovi got along, Ovechkin never focused on defense, which led to some consternation at the end. Trotz is now in a position to change that.

“A team is a group of guys that have the same vision and understand that everybody has a seat in the bus,” Trotz said. “Someone asked me about coaching, ‘Do you treat everybody equal?’ Absolutely not. Coaching’s about inequality. No one gets the same ice time. If you’re a 13th forward or you’re the star player, you should get the same respect from the coach. Your roles are going to be different and that’s the inequality that there is in coach. You’ve gotta have your role on the team and understand that if you’re not preforming your role then someone else gets an opportunity to do that.”

Trotz and new GM Brian MacLellan talked a lot about team play and responsibility during their introductory press conference. Some of those comments were likely tacit references to Ovechkin. One of MacLellan’s first moves, supported by Trotz, will be to institute a rigorous training camp. Normally Ovi loafs a bit into September, starting his training later in the summer after an offseason of vacations.

“I’ve always had a hard training camp,” said Trotz. “That’s perfect. I love that. I think I have a little method to my madness in terms of building a culture and demanding certain things.”

“It’s a process,” he added. “There’s players that have played a certain way or done certain things there that maybe I don’t want to do and it’s going to be an adjustment for them. We just gotta get comfortable with each other.”

Still, Ovechkin will undoubtedly get special treatment under Trotz. He deserves it too. The question is how long of a leash to give him and when to yank it.

“I need to know what these guys are about,” Trotz concluded. “They gotta know I’m about winning.”

  • Mark Chaffer

    ALL ABOARD THE TROTZ TRAIN
    http://i.imgur.com/pHp6FV2.jpg

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja n a

    I like his emphasis on relationship and the inequalities of coaching.

  • Mark Chaffer

    ALL ABOARD THE TROTZ TRAIN

    http://i.imgur.com/pHp6FV2.jpg

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    I only have a few words to say… http://memesly.com/media/created/nxabiv.jpg

  • salgotnv

    Move over! Koolaid drunked

  • Michael Reschly

    > The last defensive coach the team had, Dale Hunter, reined in Ovi in pursuit of fewer goals allowed. What resulted was a disgruntled captain and the two worst seasons of the Russian’s career.

    Hunter was only a coach for one of those two season. And only a portion of that.

  • Chris Best

    Why the heck does Ovechkin deserve special treatment? He absolutely does not. If anything it’s why he is the way he is. No special treatment. He plays the same way everyone else does of he should go. Tired of Ovechkin hand holding. Tired of him losing pucks and not fighting to get them back, instead just circling away. Trotz said a team plays like it’s captain…I agree, Ovechkin has a lot of room to grow as a leader. Scoring 50 goals doesn’t make you a leader, nor does mindlessly checking everyone in sight. I hope Trotz holds him accountable and I hope he benches Ovechkin if he won’t but in to a team vision. I remember last season Ovie saying “my job is to score goals”. No I think it’s more than that…if you never win anything, you can score 100 goals and it’s irrelevant. If Trotz can get Ovechkin to grow up, we have a chance. I guarantee you someone like Scott Bowman would not let Ovechkin get away with the crap he does. And I hope one of the things McLellan told Leonsis was to stop babying Ovechkin. If they don’t, look forward to more first round exits and the same old conversations.

  • Shaun Phillips

    I’m hoping Trotz can do for Ovi what Bowman did for Yzerman; take an incredibly gifted player who already has the offensive side of the game down and turn him into a complete player and a true leader.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    I was also referring to the end of the Bruce era, but I probably should have, you know, mentioned that. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Trotz is a coach who tailors his system to his top players. He has played a defensive system in Nashville because his assets were defense and goaltending. He believes in a solid two way game though. As much as I hate to say it, Ovechkin needs to be more like Sid the Kid and play a complete game, which is what Trotz should instill in Ovi. With that said, I have noticed that the Caps play some of the best hockey when Ovechkin isn’t on the ice.

  • Sara

    Barry and I are speaking the same language….”I’m about winning” as well. Hoping he can light the fire this team needs.

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

    The attitude you’ve described is the one that animated Dale Hunter’s coaching style.

  • Lee LeTourneau

    Sounds like he means business. I like it

  • Freedoooom

    Tired of finger pointing at Ovechkin.

    You want to see a lazy player, look at Backstrom.

    The Stepan goal Backstrom freezes, Oleksy falls, Hillen overreacts to Hagelin with no angle, Holtby does too(he wasn’t even in the crease), but its the farthest guy from Stepan who was just at the damn left goal goal line less than 2 seconds before.

  • Lawrence

    Funny how everyone seems to have an opinion on how he needs to change his game. Ovi is and never was the issue with this team. He keeps us from being the 2014 oilers. Gee, I wonder why he never seems to have issues winning in other places outside the NHL, or playing a two-way game, or loving a defensive minded coach (znarok). Fate was sealed for Ovi when he was drafted by the caps and the greatest player in the world’s ‘team’ failed to get a cup, he shouldered all the blame and still does. The painful truth is, if Ovi was drafted 2nd onto the pens, he would never have been criticized the way he has been during his career and for his sake I wish he had been drafted by them. Now he is used as a rag doll for commentators, analysts, and fans alike and I don’t see it ending ever, maybe when he’s 40 and people look back at his tremendous career. Sad what media has done to this guy. They painted him as a lazy russian, someone that only cares about himself, coach killer, locker-room killer, etc. If caps management had stuck their neck out for this guy instead of falling on him as an excuse for their failures, if teammates defended him to the media, or maybe if their GM surrounded him with a team that can win, we would have a different headline every time Ovi’s name is mentioned. Imagine waking up every morning and reading articles about how your parents are the reason you are in a slump. People want to know why it looks like Ovi isn’t having fun anymore when he plays, this is why. The media, fans, teammates, have killed so much of his personality, which is why it is so fun to see him play in russia, where he gains all that love for the game again. I miss that Ovi, the one that loved his teammates, winning, scoring goals, more than anyone in the building. You just take one look at his face now and you can see the stress in his eyes, complete change from his earlier years. He may be a better person than he was, but he sure as hell isn’t enjoying himself the way he used to.

    Despite what some people would tell you, Ovi has always had too much pride to ask for a trade or think of fleeing to the KHL, but when his contract is up? If things have not changed with the caps, he is as good as gone and I would be to. People are way too influenced by what the Milbury’s, Roenick’s, etc., of the world think and its up to his organization, teammates, fans, to defend him, which we have all failed to do. Look at how other players are defended when they struggle. Toews last year went 20 playoff games without scoring a goal. Do we hear about that? Nash has 4 goals in his last 34 games in the playoffs. Kane has been crapping the bed this series. Crosby has sucked the last couple playoff runs. Malkin disappears during the regular season all of the time. Stamkos has never even had 1 100-point season. The list goes on. Ovi is expected to do all of these things and more, with less help than all of the other superstars have in the league.

    It’s okay for fans to want more out of their players, that’s normal. I am not saying Ovi cannot improve. What’s not normal is to put an entire organization’s failure on one player. A player that has put up better numbers, better individual stats, more awards than any other player in the league and is looked at as a cancer. I am not sure as to why this has happened to the Capitals as a franchise, maybe it’s because GMGM drafted russian players, maybe its because no one with a voice sticks up for him. I really don’t know, but look at Semin now, do you see the same type of controversy around him now that he has left (and he is even performing worse than he was with the caps)? No, fans, media in carolina love him.

    IMO, in the last few years Ovi has been slowing down. Whether or not that is because of age, the way he plays, or something else, he probably will need to change aspects his game to remain a top 3-5 player in the NHL, which he has done to a certain degree (way less skating than he used to). He will get worse, that’s inevitable, and the team will get worse, who will the blame fall on then? The 35 year old ovi? Wilson? Kuz?

    The lack of respect Ovi gets from fans, media, is disturbing. Instead of enjoying the prime years of one of the best most exciting hockey players to ever lace them up, we sit here talking about how he should change his game. Ovi is Ovi.

  • Greg Schmidt

    In Sid’s last game this season, he was caught dogging it back to play D. And got scored upon.

    Barely got a mention…..

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    Lawrence, I really don’t have anything wrong with your points about the media but I do think you are missing something in your post. I don’t see how your analysis ties into what Trotz was saying about him. I think Trotz’s approach is perfectly logical. “A team is a group of guys that have the same vision and understand that everybody has a seat in the bus. Someone asked me about coaching, ‘Do you treat everybody equal?’ Absolutely not. Coaching’s about inequality. No one gets the same ice time. If you’re a 13th forward or you’re the star player, you should get the same respect from the coach. Your roles are going to be different and that’s the inequality that there is in coach. You’ve gotta have your role on the team and understand that if you’re not preforming your role then someone else gets an opportunity to do that.” It’s about getting a collective group of individuals to play their roles as a team. Nothing wrong with that. Perhaps the caps organization has needed someone with this mentality the whole time?

  • Chris Best

    Well at this point what more is Ovechkin than a reincarnation of Pavel Bure? He can score goals, great…can lead his team to win? Nope. Neither could Bure. A guy named Trevor Linden did that. Get us a Trevor Linden type player to take the load off of Ovechkin and we’ll be on our way.

  • JH

    A-f**king-men, brother.

  • JH

    This kind of drivel makes me crazy. “Leading the team to win” is a bunch of BS. The C on the sweater is such an overrated thing, and the only player on the ice the entire time is the goalie. Ovechkin’s job IS to score goals. Lots of them. And he’s a WINGER – not a center. A winger’s defensive responsibilities are a lot less.

    A good coach (which is hopefully what Trotz is) doesn’t need to do much about Ovi. A good coach needs to fix the rest of the damn team a lot more, starting with figuring out the defense and the lines. Get that figured out, and the Caps puck possession stats go up, Ovi gets more 5v5 goals, and more players on the team score. That way, Ovi is not carrying the whole.damn.team – which is what he’s been doing.

    Wake up, people. Ovi is NOT THE PROBLEM – it’s the rest of the team!!!

    People who want to watch a bunch of boring Canadians play Hunter hockey probably also enjoy watching grass grow and paint dry. Rant over.

  • Lawrence

    “It’s about getting a collective group of individuals to play their roles as a team.”

    Yeah that’s exactly what I mean though. I don’t mean anything bad about Trots at all. Why does the media expect Trots or every coach to ‘change’ Ovi? Why is it assumed the coach has to single him out in front of the team? Analysts, commentators, and media can’t seem to understand that maybe there is something else wrong with this team other than Ovi. I don’t see any proof that states Ovi cannot or does not want to play as a team. Every coach that Ovi has had would prove the exact opposite, the dude just wants to win and its so obvious. When Hunter was his coach and he was getting embarrassed, benched, did he complain once? No, he sucked it up and blocked shots. When they lose time after time in the playoffs, does he blame his teammates or coaches? Or how about when he slumps and the whole world turns against him? No, he blames himself and talks about how he has to be better. It sounds like a joke to even type things like this, but these are the qualities that the media tries to portray him with and somehow most people buy it. What I am trying to say with this, is that his image has been contorted to how the media wants him perceived. It has nothing to do with what I think of Trots or the fact he has to respond to these dumb, nonsense questions

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    Ah okay – I thought you were raggin’ against Trotz and was like, “whaaaa?!”

  • Lawrence

    Haha, nah I actually think Trots is similar to his russian coach and could be the best coach Ovi has had. Just raging against the media that either buys into that nonsense or sells it.

  • Bilal

    If I could hit that like button a million times, I would

  • Bilal

    Crosby is not a good defender. Believe me, i’m not hatin, but the reason Crosby doesn’t have an absurd Plus Minus Ovi does is cause Sid has good teammates around him that play Good defense. Believe me, Crosby’s controller disconnects too, but he has team mates that get the job done on D while Ovi doesn’t. I can guarantee that if Sid played for us (oh gawd it hurts saying that) he’s have a bad +/-

  • Bilal

    Trotz kinda looks like putin in that picture

  • Alex

    Man, I’ve been saying this since 2010.

  • Darla

    Ovi is not Sindey. Apples and oranges. Make fruit salad, but don’t compare them; it doesn’t work.

  • Red

    Well said. I particularly enjoyed your formatting and lack of unnecessary capitalization.
    Ovi is a unique combination of dynamic talent and personality. It’s about time we had a bench boss who has the necessary experience to attain the best from our superstar and the team. On paper Trotz seems to fit the bill. I truly hope Barry proves to be an effective coach, as he will be presiding over Ovi’s closing window for achieving true greatness.

  • dylan wheatley

    sidney crosby is a center. his analog on the capitals is nicklas backstrom.

  • BorntoHula

    I like watching good hockey regardless of nationality. Personally I liked Hunter Hockey. Best chance the Caps had in the playoffs since 98.

    I like the details to the game and in a 1-0 or 2-1 game every detail matters, those games are more exciting to me in than a game with 14 goals. Not a huge fan of watching grass grow though.

    A winger’s defensive responsibilities are less but that’s what makes it easier to do them. They are still important. One player not covering his man, shifts other defensive players and gives the offense an easy option.

    I do agree that he shouldn’t be required to carry the team. They need to play like a team, kinda like they did under Hunter. Yes Hunter had his issues, mainly communication. I have no problem with the coach sitting Ovi at the end of a game when the Caps have the lead. Not explaining it and what adjustments he could make to be more trusted in such a situation, however, is not good. Could be that would have been different if he saw himself here longer.

    His job is to make his team better. With his talents scoring goals is the largest component of that, but there still needs to be some balance there and at the very least last season it was lacking.

  • Fred Merc

    I agree with a lot of your points about the media (but not about the Caps and him not having to change his game at all), but refuse to upvote your post since you said you wished that Ovi had gone to Pitt instead of the Capitals.

    He does need to tweak his game and be more consistent with his defensive efforts. Perhaps he finally has, which is why Russia FINALLY won something with him on the team. Which is why this was kind of silly: “Gee, I wonder why he never seems to have issues winning in other places outside the NHL”
    Your acting like he wins everywhere except with the caps is at best simply incorrect.

  • Fred Merc

    “Ovechkin’s job IS to score goals. Lots of them.”

    Ovechkin’s “job” is also to help his teammates in keeping the other team from scoring goals as well. The fact that you either don’t or won’t understand that changes nothing.

  • Karina Saint

    Way to go Lawrence ! Xoxo

  • Lawrence

    How is acting like he wins everywhere else incorrect?

    2005 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships – Best Forward & All-Star Team
    2008 World Championships – Gold Medal
    2012 World Championships – Gold Medal
    2014 World Championships – Gold Medal
    Russian Superleague: 2005 RSL Champion
    KHL: 2013 Gagarin Cup Champion
    2003 WJC – Gold medal

    Ovi has won team awards in everything besides the NHL. I also said I think he does need to change the way he plays, but for different reasons than the media would tell you. Ovi is getting older, he is going to have to change his style as he continues to slow down. Media has wanted him to change since his first few years of NHL ‘team’ failures, I don’t agree with that. Ovi was the best player in the entire world for 3 – 5 years there with his own play style and if anyone was going to carry the capitals to a Stanley cup, it was him.

    The capitals as a franchise have leaned on one player for the last 10 years and now that the player is going to start declining, it will be and has been even more apparent that the capitals are not well managed.

  • Bugs Fire

    Yes, this is also part of his job (I don’t know why you use quotation marks for “job”). I just don’t understand why you believe he is not doing that. Just because assorted Milburies say that? Ovie is playing defence at least as much as Patrick Kane, and I never heard him to be criticized for the lack of defensive effort. Phil Kessel was on the ice for one more goal against than Alex last season, do you also think Kessel is the major problem with the Leafs?

    Criticizing Ovie is OK, being a target is part of his job. It just does not seem OK that he is criticized for the same thing other NHL players are not.

  • Bugs Fire

    What balance was lacking? Did it ever occur to you that Alex may be following instructions he received from his coach? In fact, did it occur to you that many other Caps players looked bad this year because the system they played was in contradiction with the roster strengths?

    “His job is to make his team better”, you say. Actual evidence suggests that he consistently does that. Can he be even better? Sure. Will people with your mindset acknowledge that if he does? Probably not – it still will be “he is not the leader, blah, blah, blah”.

  • Bugs Fire

    You do know that the main goal of the hockey game is to score more goals than the other team? And in your opinion, the guy who scores two goals in the same amount of time that it takes 17 other guys to score seven is not doing nearly enough to “lead his team to win”? And keep in mind that he is doing that while playing within the system that minimizes his chances of ever getting the puck in offensive zone?

  • Fred Merc

    I used quotation marks because I was responding to the assertion that his “job” (as stated by the poster I was responding to) was to simply put pucks in the net. If you don’t understand that I can help you no further on the point. Some people might think that a player’s job ultimately is to help the team win, period.

    I say that he needs to tweak his game to include more defensive effort consistency not because I am a Milbury brain washed moron, but because when watching Ovi play in the defensive end he at times gives good effort and at other times he simply doesn’t seem to give a F. It is pretty noticeable. The fact that nearly everyone who has made a name for themselves in the game of hockey agrees is probably just an inconvenient coincidence, I am sure.

    I don’t care about Kessel. I am a caps/Ovie fan, not Toronto Leafs/ Kessel.

    It is not a big hate Ovi conspiracy, and just because some loyal caps/Ovi fans can see things as they are, and believe it is time for some accountability and team play beyond SCOAR MOAR GOALS! does not mean they are haters.

    Time for some Trotz tough love. High time in fact.

  • Bugs Fire

    Well, just do me a favor and watch Patrick Kane a bit more. He does exactly the same thing – circles around waiting for the puck. Not much backchecking either. He plays some D, but often doesn’t. Specifically, he regularly leaves D-zone while other team is still actively forechecking.

    There is nothing wrong with that. Kane is a sniper and a winger. He has Toews, Keith, Oduya, Bickell, Seabrook, Hossa etc to back him up. His +/- is worse than that of his teammates. Yet he regularly scores game winning goals and is consistently Chicago’s top scorer. It stands to reason that without Kane Hawks would not have won two Cups in four years.

    Would Hawks be even better if Kane played more defence (without losing much in offence)? Sure. Do they need him to? No. Because Hawks are built to maximize Kane’s output, and that of his teammates. Caps, on the other hand, are built as if Alexander Ovechkin is a Stanley Cup fairy.

    As for Phil Kessel, I understand that you don’t care. But maybe you should, because what this comparison demonstrates is that defensive liabilities of natural born snipers are magnified by low possession systems of play.

    Regarding two way play, It does not have to be zero sum game, but unfortunately it almost always is. Pairing Alex with Beagle did result in fewer goals against when #8 was on the ice, but completely killed his own goal output. What Caps need is not Ovie playing defence (that is indeed a ridiculous idea), but solid defensive system and offensive zone entrance. “Territory over possession” system of AO, aka dump and chase, is probably the worst you can do.

    Of course there is no conspiracy. Yet it is hard to understand (and I know you cannot help me further because I am so dumb) how could anyone pay attention and still believe that Ovechkin is the problem.

  • Bugs Fire

    The only “special” treatment he gets is that people (you included) blame him for the many things that are wrong with the team. Exactly what “crap” he gets away with?

    If the “team vision” continues to be “we suck because Ovie never wins anything”, I hope he never buys into that.

    On a serious note, how could anyone pay attention to Washington Capitals and conclude that Ovechkin is the problem? Not lack of depth and general mismanagement of the blue line, not bipolar goalie treatment, not questionable trades, not amazingly terrible coaching. No, it’s Ovie’s fault. He is a magic dude from alien planet who for some reason decided to be lazy and not use his magical lightspeed mode to win the Cup. Shame on him. He could have easily done all that, but you know, his work ethic is so Russian. Now let’s all hope he gets benched, so that MoJo and Laich can finally be unleashed. Are you for real?

  • Bugs Fire

    It’s not only bad D, it’s also that Backstrom and particularly Johansson seem to be genuinely disinterested in scoring. Ovie’s +/- was just fine for the short period he spent playing with Grabo and Fehr.

  • Eric Schulz

    I thought you did; has it since been edited (ie was I reading the edited version)? Because “Bruce Boudreau tried to do the same thing at the end of his tenure.”

  • Eric Schulz

    What animated Hunter’s coaching style was: stop attacking! Stop scoring goals! Only the minimum amount to win. 1-0, hopefully. Shocking that it didn’t work.

  • Eric Schulz

    It will fall on Ovechkin and Kuznetsov too, as Kuz Nasty starts to take on more of the offensive burden. Those enigmatic Russians; can’t win in the NHL with ‘em, that’s the problem.

  • Bilal

    I know, Mojo getting 2 even strength goals in 80 games, most of which were spent on the top line is awful!

    And it really annoys me how Backstrom doesn’t really like to shoot much, he actually has a pretty good shot. Remember when he got 30 goals in 09/10? That time was great…….then montreal happened

  • BorntoHula

    “Will people with your mindset acknowledge that if he does? Probably not – it still will be “he is not the leader, blah, blah, blah”.”

    I apologize I did not want to cause alarm, I did not say I want him traded, I love Ovi. The best goal scorer of our generation and can be a wrecking ball as well, absolutely love that about him. I am, however, not opposed to trading him, but I am not opposed to trading anyone on the roster if it improves the teams chances of winning the cup. I think the whole leader thing is overblown. I have acknowledged his D in the past and have never questioned his will to win or commitment. I do at times question how he values certain aspects of the game and am under the impression that I have a different opinion on how some of those aspects are to be valued. I am not trying to insult Ovi or any other players, I am trying to voice my opinion and possibly offer constructive criticism (which I know is pointless as who am I but eh it’s fun to watch hockey and I like to advocate for a style of play that to me is the most exciting, fun and in my opinion provides the best opportunity to win in the playoffs).

    “Did it ever occur to you that Alex may be following instructions he received from his coach?”

    Thank you for asking, in fact it had occurred to me but failed to touch on that subject. AO was, in my opinion, an awful head coach. Ovi’s defensive game, however, was not great before AO was coach though. Hunter sat him late in the 3rd period when leading for a reason. You may disagree with that strategy but Hunter did not do that because he did not like his team scoring goals, he thought it improved the teams chances of winning (I tend to agree). He does not need to compete for the Selke, but I think he could even get more goals if he helped more get the puck out of the d zone (No again, he might not be the main reason for these issues but he, just like INSERT HEATLEY, KESSEL or the like here so this post is not seen as unfairly picking on Ovi (it may be a caps blog but…), could still help improve it.

    “”His job is to make his team better”, you say. Actual evidence suggests that he consistently does that. ”

    I said that in response to the comment that it is his job to score goals. I think an Ovechkin, just like for instance a Phil Kessel, who scores 40 goals can be more valuable to a team than an Ovechkin, or a Kessel, who scores 55. Ovi does make the team better, I did not say he does not. The more important question, and I am not really going to get into it, is whether he makes the team better in a proportionate manner to his cap hit. (probably, but he could be even more valuable with a little more defensive effort). For what it is worth, I very much dislike Milbury’s commentary and especially when he gets all xenophobic.

    You correctly state that “the main goal of the hockey game is to score more goals than the other team?”. In order to win you do not only have to score goals, you also have to prevent the other team from scoring more of them than you score… This is especially important when faced with a “hot goalie”.

    Also Ovi’s d is not the caps biggest problem, that would, in my opinion, be the blue line as a group, the individual players are fine but as a group they do not constitute a contending teams D.

    Sorry if the above is “blah blah blah”

  • Jonah

    Im not sure how relevant your points are to trots, but for the love of god man you just hit the nail on the head!!!!

  • Kevin Easley

    Nice post, Lawrence – the Caps’ failure to surround Ovie with players (other than Backstrom) and top coaching is what has derailed their efforts to win the Cup. Now they have a legit Coach, and hopefully the new GM starts getting the right players. All the other criticisms levied at Ovie? Mostly just noise, but Alex needs to not only score and hit with abandon, he has to play more of a 200-foot game. And I believe he will under Barry’s tutelage. Let’s Go Caps!!