No more Mr. Nice Caps Fan Blogger.
I haven't updated this in some time because I've just been left dumbstruck by how the team has played. Usually I want to give myself a day or two to sit on the team's performance before I even consider writing. I'm writing this with over 7 minutes remaining in the 2nd period of a current 4-1 deficit to the Maple Leafs.
Having attended the game against New Jersey last Saturday I can say the team was pathetic after the first period and the refs helped them with that by missing some very obvious penalties. This has been a huge thing for the past few games. The refs aren't THE reason a team loses but they can affect the outcome. Case in point the phantom trip call on Wideman in the NJ game, the diving calls on Semin when he's legitimately taken down but he has a reputation, the "missed" calls on trips/hooks/interference when refs are looking right at the play. Against Winnipeg Semin went down behind the net and no penalty got called on the Jets player but Semin did get one for giving the ref an earful. Tonight what should have been a hooking minor on the Leafs and a power play for the Caps was nullified because the ref felt that Semin's would need to sell the hook and chance injury by going feet first into the boards. Moments later the Leafs score.
Despite all this its not why the Caps are losing games by multiple goals. The goalies have been very sharp against the Caps but the Caps kill themselves game in and game out. Caps get Power Plays and then fail to set up or keep the puck in the zone. Failing to get shots off or take penalties early on killing any chance of success. Many are quick to point out that Mike Green is injured so the team doesn't have a major weapon offensively, a puck mover, a guy on the point...BIG FUCKING DEAL!!!! The team has had to win the past few years without Mike Green...they know how to play without him, they have a ton of veteran defensemen that can fill in. They have players in the minors that can be called up.
The Caps are missing two guys, Green (a big piece) and Beagle (easily replaceable). The Devils were missing Kovalchuk...fitting given the fight he and Green had last year, and the Leafs have 7 players out including their awesome starting goalie Reimer. Sad thing is the Caps had the stats against the Leafs backup and he struggled at home this year.
The team is lacking in fundamentals. This is not the same team we saw start the season 7-0-0. That team fucked up and managed to find win, to atone for their mistakes. Now they just bury themselves. Ovechkin continues to regress...everyone knows what he's going to do when he enters the zone and they stop zone in on him and he gives up the puck, if he doesn't lose it beforehand...wild idea Ovie...learn to ADAPT and try something NEW. I honestly think much of his problems Captain...take the C off of him.
The players keep saying that they want to be held accountable for their play but after they are they fail to respond. They aren't learning shit. Ovie sulks, Sasha Fierce continues to live in the penalty box and some others just don't step it up.
In the Winnipeg game the first two goals were scored because the team played like shit in their own zone. They couldn't get the puck out, that's been consistent most of the season, but they didn't even get it out of the corner and then Evander Kane put two past Neuvy. First goal tonight by Toronto came when Schultz tried a lazy pass that hit the coming Leafs player and lead to the score. The Caps continue to be nonchalant in their own zone with the puck as they get pressured and turn it over...quick Boudreau have them work on that in practice. I see it once, during the game, you have the fucking tapes for them to study.
Its not just the players or the injuries its also the coach. You can't have players play two games on the same line, switch it up during the game, and then change the lines in full after the second game trying to find chemistry. Do you know how you gain chemistry? You allow the same players to play on the same lines in practice and in games for weeks, not days at a time. You don't break up Carlson and Alzner, which is your top defensive pair! You don't put Knuble on the 4th line when he and the team are successful when he's on the 1st or 2nd line...and if you do and the team is sucking then you right that wrong and MOVE HIM THE FUCK BACK UP! Great the team is 8-0 with Mike Green...without him you're 2-7-1 after tonight.
The players need to have a players only meeting and call each other out. Just let it fly. Break something, hit something, put in work! Sure they haven't had the puck bouncing their way but they've also had opportunities and missed them. I can't count a handful of times the team has had an open net and either didn't have a player in position for a rebound or made one too many passes. Hell in the Winnipeg game they had a 2 on 0 breakaway and Laich shot it high and wide, celebrated thinking he scored and it lead to a goal the other way.
I don't want to say the sky is falling as its still mid November but losing can be contagious as can winning. Glen Hanlon lost his job around this time and Bruce took over. I don't want to see that happen again. I love Boudreau but it almost feels like he's losing the team, if not the captain. They say they love him, I think they do but sometimes it takes a different voice to get through to players. I'd prefer that voice to be from one of the players and not a new coach. Its time to stop playing like you're the best team in the league. Not only have you been exposed for not being the rest of the league is considerably better than last year. There is a ton of parity right now and the Panthers, Bolts are right there with this team, the Senators and Leafs who were expected to be bottom dwellers are there too and the Rangers and Bruins have brushed off slow starts and are each riding 7 game winning streaks...hey remember when we had that?
I now miss the Cardiac Caps that were taking years off my life, but winning, with those close games late in regulation...it really sucks losing years off your life in blowouts or because the team doesn't come close to giving the effort they should and one feels the need to yell at them through the TV from their recliner as if the players can hear them...maybe I want to be "that voice"
Mike Green PLEASE HURRY BACK but to the rest of the team..step it up and learn to win without him
I'll be at the game on Monday night and I expect a much better effort vs Phoenix and I expect GOAT, and many others to let the team have it if they're not