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09-27-2011, 05:40 PM
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mcphee described it as a hang over. i thought much the same during last season. ovechkin and backstrom both suffered badly from the combined disappointments of poor national team performance in the olympics combined with the first round embarrassment v montreal.

ovechkin suffered in the spotlight as he took much of the media blame for the russian flameout and the capitals collapse. backstrom's sweden and the caps playoff fall was not as public but very likely just as impactful.

both players didnt respond well to the challenge. either they made poor decisions as to what they needed to change about their approach or they walked away from the game and their off season prep too far and/or too long. its understandable, but it could be shown as a character flaw. they werent the only one's.

you could see it in laich's game. his performance was down. green came to camp convinced that he needed to be a different type of player and the mike green the caps needed to succede really didnt start playing til the playoffs.

i think this is where mcphee has made his biggest error in deciding to go long and keep his young base(carlson, alzner, neuvirth, johansson, holtby and others) in tact rather than go for broke and spend some of that.

his core is cracking under the losing. personally, i think the caps win the stanley cup if there are no olympics. that blew up in the capitals face and created significant doubt among the core players that they were capable of winning on a big stage. these core players are now carrying a heavy load of fail. to me this is bruce's main hurdle to get over. to convince these key guys that they are stanley cup caliber players.

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