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Photo: Rich Lam

As first reported by the the Winnipeg Free Press’s Gary Lawless, the Washington Capitals are close to hiring former Predators head coach Barry Trotz. Trotz, who spent 16 years in Nashville, interviewed with Caps brass on Tuesday.

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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.

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Why I Gave Up My Season Tickets

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[Ed. note: Eric Bovim shares his perspective as an aggrieved season-ticket holder. - Peter]

I have invested nearly $60,000 since 2008 as a season ticket holder into the Washington Capitals. But it’s time to put that to an end.

Even with the overdue changes to the Caps front office announced this weekend, I have decided to give up my tickets as a protest to ownership. I doubt the voice of a lone STH matters much to them; no doubt they will quickly sell my two seats in my section 102, row F to someone on their waiting list. Management never knew me. But I will not let them forget about why I have made the decision to forfeit my precious seats.

For the past 6 seasons, from those seats by the faceoff circle near the glass, I have seen it all. I remember the time I took my little boy to his first game – early 2009 – when he was merely two and a half. Alex was so young then I had to bring along his diaper and pacifier. His mother packed him his bottle. I bundled him up. We were playing the Canadiens. Jose Theodore was out goalie then. We won 3-0. I still remember his face that night at the game, him cheers along with the Horn Guy, him falling asleep later that season in the third period as the Caps rallied to beat Detroit. He stayed asleep even as Verizon Center celebrated a vintage Mike Green goal. I stood and held him as he slept. It was not easy, but it was fun.

We saw many other games over the years together. We became quite comfortable at Verizon together. We had our pre-game dinners all mapped out. He made his tour around the concourse, seeking free handouts from the Red Rockers. When I told him that I had given up the seats he was rightly upset. The games with dad were a childhood ritual that I have abruptly ended. He expected to be able to go. It would be hard to explain to him, however, that I expected much more from the Capitals this year, and that I felt like I was pouring my money down a hole.

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Nick Backstrom: 2013-14 Season Review

The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing number: Zyrtec.

Okay, Let’s talk about Nick Backstrom.

By the Numbers

82 Games played
19.3 Average time on ice per game
18 Goals
61 Assists
49.3% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
42.3% Goal percentage during 5v5
7.2% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
91.2% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

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Karl Alzner: 2013-14 Season Review

Photo: Patrick McDermott

One half of the fabled Carlzner defensive pairing, Karl Alzner was sent to shut down the Caps’ toughest opponents all year. Plus: puppies and the best bench celebrations you’ve seen since that other guy.

By the Numbers

82 Games played
20.1 Average time on ice per game
2 Goals
16 Assists
47.0% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
44.6% Goal percentage during 5v5
7.1% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
92.3% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

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News straight out of Arlington: Adam Oates and George McPhee will not return next season.

Oates’ final record with the team: 65 wins, 48 losses, and 17 overtime losses. George McPhee’s advanced past the second round of the playoffs just once, in his first year.

No word on replacements yet. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, we’ve recorded a video to say goodbye to Oates. It’s worth your time.

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The Capitals Will Select 13th in 2014 NHL Draft

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Lucky number 13?

This season, the NHL adopted a draft lottery system like the NBA. That means, unlike in years past, every team that does not make the playoffs has a chance to win the lottery and draft number one overall. The suspense! The television revenues. The bloggity blogs writing about this craziness. Gary, you are such a brilliant commissioner.

The Capitals had a 0.5% chance of getting the first overall pick entering the night and ended up getting dreaded pick number 13, which I guess is good unless you’re really, really superstitious. For those looking for a good omen, the last time the Capitals drafted 13th– back in 2002, they wound up with Alex Semin.

The Florida Panthers, who are awful, won the lottery and will draft first. The Sabres, who are even awfuler, will draft second. Here are the rest of the picks.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov takes off his pads after Sunday’s game. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

By tomorrow morning, big changes may have already struck the Washington Capitals. After the Caps’ final game, a 1-0 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the players were somber, but not angry. They’ve been dealing with postmortem questions since Thursday. Four days later, those questions haven’t got any easier to answer, even if the team’s flaws are clear.

I brought my camera into the locker room as the players took off their skates for the final time this year and faced probing reporters Sunday evening. They’ll have to face the latter again tomorrow morning.

Take a look at my photos.

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End of an Era: Bolts beat Caps 1-0 (Shootout)

Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

Whimper. The Washington Capitals put in a perfunctory effort in their final game of the 2013-14 season. Hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning at home for Fan Appreciation Day, the Caps showed very little intensity in a goalless defeat.

After forty minutes, the Caps had hardly mustered just seven shots– a season lowJay Beagle was back at Alex Ovechkin‘s flank. Braden Holtby was overworked but perfect. The third line was better than everybody else. The team couldn’t reach a result in #rego or overtime, so we went to the shootout for the 21st time– a new league record.

That last paragraph could’ve applied to dozens of Caps games this season. Fitting it all happened today; just another reminder what you don’t want out of your hockey team.

To the Washington Capitals of 2013-14: I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.

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Bet: Ian Thinks Adam Oates Will Be Back Next Year

Ian and I were doing some blog biznass this morning when I learned something stunning. Ian actually believes Adam Oates will be back as head coach of the Capitals next season. This is astonishing, so we made a bet.

The Bet: Ian bets Peter that Adam Oates will be head coach of the Washington Capitals in 2014-15.

The Stakes: 77 cents, in pennies, and a $10 gift card to the burrito restaurant of the winner’s choice.

You guys are witnesses. I also want to point out that Ian is running a very cold streak in bets lately. Also also: Chipotle > Qdoba, all day, every day.

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