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Old
05-05-2009, 10:42 PM
  #1
beerman
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Room For Improvement

What does this team need?.....(and what can it realistically do about it?)

You could make the arguement that it's in fact NOTHING and I would understand and hope that you're correct. In fact I know I'm being a little nitpicky even bringing up this subject, but most would agree that we have reached the level where we don't need drastic changes.

Its easy to say we could use a Pronger on D or the generic "we need more toughness."

Having said that, I'm realizing more and more just how precious a combo it is to have skilled players who are also tough. It is obvioulsly harder to find skilled players, which is why someone like Fleischmann has made the cut. I'm not advocating that we replace or trade him for a marginally skilled player with more grit. Still it's hard for me to watch basic yet crucial things such as not quite getting the puck out of the defensive zone due to being outmuscled or not putting a body on people in front of our goalie.

There are varying degrees of toughness/grit, and understandably most people simply aren't AO, Mike Richards, Pronger, or Phaenuf. But in the playoffs when the game is really on the line, as cliched as it sounds, is when all the little things become more important than they were in the reg season. If your not gonna be physical at least be scrappy & defensively responsible like Backs and Federov.

I know I am preaching to the choir for the most part, but once your team accumulates enough skill and depth (ie Caps), maybe the final piece of our puzzle will be to toughen up.

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05-05-2009, 10:53 PM
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I'd also be interested in hearing anyone's specific tactical or strategic gameplan adjustments that could be made.

I know it's the fact that the Pens and Caps are two evenly matched teams, but it seems like we were having too much trouble transitioning out of the neutral zone than we should have. It's not like Pittsburgh is a overly defensive-minded team like the Devils or Rangers.

Hopefully it's just us being lazy or overconfident about our breakouts cause that can be a fairly easy correction!

I'd really appreciate hearing from someone who's into hockey strategy to chime in on this.

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05-05-2009, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by beerman View Post
I'd also be interested in hearing anyone's specific tactical or strategic gameplan adjustments that could be made.

I know it's the fact that the Pens and Caps are two evenly matched teams, but it seems like we were having too much trouble transitioning out of the neutral zone than we should have. It's not like Pittsburgh is a overly defensive-minded team like the Devils or Rangers.

Hopefully it's just us being lazy or overconfident about our breakouts cause that can be a fairly easy correction!

I'd really appreciate hearing from someone who's into hockey strategy to chime in on this.
Not much really. Pinch aggressively and skate the puck out as much as you can so we can enter the zone with speed. Every time we get the puck in the neutral zone and then accelerate from zero onward ends in disaster. Don't relinquish possession easily (don't dump and chase if you don't wanna chase). Just toss it back and regroup. Play 3-1-1 offense but be able to easily transition to 2-1-2 defense. Have Sloan or Clark take a career ending run at Kunitz when the game is out of reach for either them or us.

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05-05-2009, 11:14 PM
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Here's a thread from a couple of weeks ago about team needs and possible additions/subtractions and such:

http://www.hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=631999

As far as tactical/strategic changes, I don't think they need to change much. The team just has to execute better. Improve communication between defensemen and backcheckers, pass more accurately, clear the puck out of the defensive zone more confidently, etc. If this team gets on a roll, and starts playing consistently well for entire games, they're going to be tough to beat.

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05-05-2009, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by NobodyBeatsTheWiz View Post
Here's a thread from a couple of weeks ago about team needs and possible additions/subtractions and such:

http://www.hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=631999

As far as tactical/strategic changes, I don't think they need to change much. The team just has to execute better. Improve communication between defensemen and backcheckers, pass more accurately, clear the puck out of the defensive zone more confidently, etc. If this team gets on a roll, and starts playing consistently well for entire games, they're going to be tough to beat.
thanks for the link, i'll read through it in a bit

So does it go without being said, or is it just me, that we would be a better team with a Tkachuk on the wing as opposed to Fleischmann? or maybe a skilled D with more edge than Poti or Pothier such as Derek Morris? The arguement being that these are players with somewhat similar skill levels but more physical.

Keep in mind I am giving Fleischmann a significant amount of respect as far as his skill. I also understand that there may be no noticeable difference in stats or even team record during the Regular Season in this hypothetical swap of players, but that might be exactly the point I am trying to make. I'm thinking that it would be in the playoffs where I believe the different player COULD and quite possibly WOULD make a difference in our team record. The old playoff's are different than Reg Season adage.

In fairness to Fleischmann maybe a more realistic comparison would be a Torres, Umberger, Upshall, etc. Interestingly, this would bring in the possible argument that there would be too much of a drop in speed/skill and would actually adversely affect the team. I'm open to that arguement.

I guess what I'm saying is that I wish Fleischmann was just a little stronger and meaner.

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05-06-2009, 12:05 AM
  #6
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Not much really. Pinch aggressively and skate the puck out as much as you can so we can enter the zone with speed. Every time we get the puck in the neutral zone and then accelerate from zero onward ends in disaster. Don't relinquish possession easily (don't dump and chase if you don't wanna chase). Just toss it back and regroup. Play 3-1-1 offense but be able to easily transition to 2-1-2 defense. Have Sloan or Clark take a career ending run at Kunitz when the game is out of reach for either them or us.

I'm worried about our D pinching too much on offense. Weve been giving up way too many odd man rush's against them and didn't improve after game 1 on that. That's the most I've seen us on our heels in that situation all year.

I understand many of the "problems" were having is quite simply due to the fact that the other team is also very good. You can't look as invincible against them as you could against the Lightning this year. It's always funny to hear fans worry (myself included) if there is something wrong with their team when the other team is probably asking the same thing. Thats what tends to happen when two good teams play each other.

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05-06-2009, 01:11 AM
  #7
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IMO, we'd be a better team if we waited until after the post-season to talk about off-season stuff.

As far as strategic adjustments for this series:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Oh, and don't dress Nyls. Ever.

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05-06-2009, 01:22 AM
  #8
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the team needs slight tweaking not an overhaul. They are young team who are still learning. For example Mo Jurcina and Erskine are light years better than they were a year ago in he Philly series. Hence gmgm could reward this improvement by retaining jurcina and mo and keeing this group of d together

This could mean that alzner spends one more year in Hershey and then comes up in 2010 when pothier's contract ends. After watching this group of six excel in the playoffs I think its a real possibility.

I just don't see them doing a whole lot of changes. Maybe a new forward or two. Brash and kozlov come to mind. Maybe a Hershey forward gets a shot but if I could grab one role guy for grit I'd look at knuble. He's big like kozov but he likes to crash the net. If Feds decides to retire there another spot but if he wants back in for another year I think he will get a 1 yr deal

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05-06-2009, 06:54 AM
  #9
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Team needs not to make pansy passes that just float to the other player that is intercepted.

Also the reason they cannot break the neutral zone at times is their stupid exiting by tossing it to out along the boards blindly and is always cut off by the Pens because it is so predictable.

Next time watch the d do it. It is really stupid and clear that we need Alzner in there for those nice exit passes under pressure. Take out Pothier, but Green has played like he wants to be sat.

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05-06-2009, 07:16 AM
  #10
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Originally Posted by dbui72 View Post
Team needs not to make pansy passes that just float to the other player that is intercepted.

Also the reason they cannot break the neutral zone at times is their stupid exiting by tossing it to out along the boards blindly and is always cut off by the Pens because it is so predictable.

Next time watch the d do it. It is really stupid and clear that we need Alzner in there for those nice exit passes under pressure. Take out Pothier, but Green has played like he wants to be sat.
Pothier? Hes only given the puck up 6 times in 8 games. He has been one of our better outlet guys. Poti has picked it up as well .

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05-06-2009, 07:20 AM
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No you are right Pothier has been good, but to have Alzner you need to replace him with a similar player.

Mo and Juice, still provide a physical presence.

Green though he bites now, eats up a lot of minutes. No way Green is going.

Sloan we need for his physicality as well.

But who would you prefer to go, just asking?

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05-06-2009, 07:28 AM
  #12
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Originally Posted by dbui72 View Post
No you are right Pothier has been good, but to have Alzner you need to replace him with a similar player.

Mo and Juice, still provide a physical presence.

Green though he bites now, eats up a lot of minutes. No way Green is going.

Sloan we need for his physicality as well.

But who would you prefer to go, just asking?
Sloan. He was spinning in cirlces when the Pens would cycle around him. He looked lost most of the time . If not for the deflection assist to Steckel, his game was average IMO...though he did settle down a little toward the end.

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05-06-2009, 07:37 AM
  #13
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its needs to develop the young D-men and goalies they have, and find a consistent RW option for Ovie's line if they aren't going to play Semin there.

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05-06-2009, 11:44 AM
  #14
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So does it go without being said, or is it just me, that we would be a better team with a Tkachuk on the wing as opposed to Fleischmann?

...In fairness to Fleischmann maybe a more realistic comparison would be a Torres, Umberger, Upshall, etc...
Tkachuk had a $4 mil cap hit this year.
Torres $2.25 mil
Umberger $3.75 mil
Upshall $1.225 mil

Fleischmann $.725 mil

So sure in an uncapped world any of those guys would likely be a better fit given that the Caps already have quite a few high end skill guys. But that isn't the case. For that kind of money Fleischmann is a fantastic secondary scoring option and he is signed for next year at the same amount. So if you want a guy who not only gives secondary scoring but also a grittier game then figure out a way to take that extra money from somewhere else in the lineup and decide whether it is worth it or not, and simply saying deal Nylander or Theodore doesn't count because that is much easier said than done

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05-06-2009, 01:47 PM
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Tkachuk had a $4 mil cap hit this year.
Torres $2.25 mil
Umberger $3.75 mil
Upshall $1.225 mil

Fleischmann $.725 mil

So sure in an uncapped world any of those guys would likely be a better fit given that the Caps already have quite a few high end skill guys. But that isn't the case. For that kind of money Fleischmann is a fantastic secondary scoring option and he is signed for next year at the same amount. So if you want a guy who not only gives secondary scoring but also a grittier game then figure out a way to take that extra money from somewhere else in the lineup and decide whether it is worth it or not, and simply saying deal Nylander or Theodore doesn't count because that is much easier said than done
After watching these two games against the Pens, the one thing I was left wanting was a Dman who will honestly clear the crease, reliably , not just once in a blue moon. Green was hideous at that in game 2 and let Sid have a hat trick because of his timidness or confusion around the crease. In ether case, you're allowed to play the body and check the puck, but Green does neither around the crease.

So if I would add or change anything I'd find a Mark Tinordi type to pair with Green to help clean up that mess. Erskine is playing well, but he's all that we have as far as that goes. Juice has been stepping up his physical play, but we need at least three serious physical Dmen to pair with our three soft puck movers.

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05-06-2009, 02:14 PM
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thanks for the link, i'll read through it in a bit

So does it go without being said, or is it just me, that we would be a better team with a Tkachuk on the wing as opposed to Fleischmann? or maybe a skilled D with more edge than Poti or Pothier such as Derek Morris? The arguement being that these are players with somewhat similar skill levels but more physical.

Keep in mind I am giving Fleischmann a significant amount of respect as far as his skill. I also understand that there may be no noticeable difference in stats or even team record during the Regular Season in this hypothetical swap of players, but that might be exactly the point I am trying to make. I'm thinking that it would be in the playoffs where I believe the different player COULD and quite possibly WOULD make a difference in our team record. The old playoff's are different than Reg Season adage.

In fairness to Fleischmann maybe a more realistic comparison would be a Torres, Umberger, Upshall, etc. Interestingly, this would bring in the possible argument that there would be too much of a drop in speed/skill and would actually adversely affect the team. I'm open to that arguement.

I guess what I'm saying is that I wish Fleischmann was just a little stronger and meaner.
Some problems with your ideas:

1. Tkachoke is abysmal and has been for some time. His playoff performance set Atlanta back a decade and that was back before he was old as dust. He's been completely invisible against the canucks this series. If you want an old guy to crash the net, get Recchi. Three times cheaper and twice as effective. However, IMO we should retain Fleischmann next year. If he finally puts his game together and adds 10 pounds he can be a Semin-level scoring menace, with more inclination to crash the net.

2. Morris is probably the most overhyped defenseman this year. Contrary to popular belief he's not that much more physical than Poti. He's lucky to get 20 points a season nowadays. He's probably the best in the league at getting undressed in highlight-reel ways.

Here's a nice site for player hits.

http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/200809/playerhits.php

As for being physical... Mike Richards had 19 hits in the playoffs. Where's Philly now?

Physicality isn't as important in the playoffs as people like to claim it is. In fact, it can be detrimental if it's misused. John Erskine is nice, sure, but Mike Green's pretty physical too and has been disastrous defensively. Ditto for Phaneuf. I'd much rather have a big guy who can protect the puck with his size (like a better version of Kozlov up front or defensively solid version of Green minus the offense, since he is pretty good at protecting the puck but gets carried away with it too much) or an Alzner type on D then a hitter.

I used to think we should try to get rid of Poti, but he's definitely stepped up. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, I guess. We'll see at the end of the the year

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05-06-2009, 02:24 PM
  #17
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it may be easier to grade our needs for next season after this season is over. If we have a John Druce go on the loose, the plan changes. Go Steckel!

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05-06-2009, 02:29 PM
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After watching these two games against the Pens, the one thing I was left wanting was a Dman who will honestly clear the crease, reliably , not just once in a blue moon. Green was hideous at that in game 2 and let Sid have a hat trick because of his timidness or confusion around the crease. In ether case, you're allowed to play the body and check the puck, but Green does neither around the crease.

So if I would add or change anything I'd find a Mark Tinordi type to pair with Green to help clean up that mess. Erskine is playing well, but he's all that we have as far as that goes. Juice has been stepping up his physical play, but we need at least three serious physical Dmen to pair with our three soft puck movers.
Green has all the tools to clear the crease but seems to prefer flashy hits with puck instead. Hopefully Kunitz's crosscheck to Varlamov awakened something inside him, he looked positively animalistic after that.

I think we shouldn't have a stay at home paired with puckmover system. It can work really well if both guys are experienced (Pronger-Whitney/Niedermayer-Wisniewski), but otherwise disrupts the flow of your game and can backfire (look at how ineffective Gonchar-Orpik has been). For us, I think we should have a puck-moving pair (Green Alzner or Green Poti), a shutdown pair (Erskine Jurcina, Erskine Morrissonn or Jurcina Morrissonn), and an intermediate pair consisting of Pothier and one of the remainders (if Poti and Erskine are healthy, Alzner sits). The puck moving pair helps keep the cycle away from our net, and if they do make it down there, it shouldn't be a major crease crashing problem since they'd be good at getting it back out, and the shutdown pair along with a checking line could just give the Pens nightmares in front of the crease when they are on the offensive. Phillips Volchenkov was insanely effective for Ottawa when they got to the final.

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05-06-2009, 02:34 PM
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I'm trying not to spend too much time thinking about it since we're still alive and all, but I am pretty confused at how this roster is going to shake out next year. We have a ton of guys under contract, a bunch more RFAs, and a bunch of prospects due for NHL chances. IMO, we're going to have to make multiple trades just to unclog the depthchart. Before you can figure out what we may be looking for, you really need to determine (1) what we have and (2) what we can afford.

Signed, sealed, delivered (9+4+2=15): Ovie, Semin, Backstrom, Clark, Nylander, Laich, Steckel, Flash, Brads, Green, Poti, Pothier, Erskine, Theo, Varly.

RFAs (6): Gordo, Fehr, Bourque, Mo, Schultz, Juice

Young guys who may make the team (5+): Bourque, Osala, Alzner, Carlson...Aucoin (not young, but still)?

That's 25 or 26 guys right there, and we don't have a clear #2 center, or #1/2 RW, or an enforcer-type guy anywhere on that list. By my count, we've got about $45.5 million committed to the above-listed 15 signed players. So, we're probably talking about $10m in spending on RFAs and UFAs, minus whatever is dedicated to promotions from Hershey.

The next question revolves around what GMGM and BB envision for the team going forward. For example, the Steckel, Laich, Brads line has been dynamite in the playoffs, both defensively, and with opportunistic offense. Does this become our version of a 3rd line shut-down line next year? If so, what does that mean for Clark and Nylander -- neither of whom seem like great fits on the 2nd line but who aren't obvious 4th liners either? Does Clark - Gordo - Nylander work as a 4th line? If our 3rd and 4th lines are set, can we afford what it takes to stock 2 top 6 forward spots? Or does Flash - Nylander - Clark work as a "let's pray 3 wrongs make a right" 2nd line? Defensively, what do we do with the massive gridlock? Juice and Sarge would be cheaper, but Mo is better. IMO, we're definitely not brining back all 3, and it's not 100% that we even bring back 2. Etc, etc, etc. There are a ton of moving parts to this thing.


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05-06-2009, 02:50 PM
  #20
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I'm trying not to spend too much time thinking about it since we're still alive and all, but I am pretty confused at how this roster is going to shake out next year. We have a ton of guys under contract, a bunch more RFAs, and a bunch of prospects due for NHL chances. IMO, we're going to have to make multiple trades just to unclog the depthchart. Before you can figure out what we may be looking for, you really need to determine (1) what we have and (2) what we can afford.

Signed, sealed, delivered (9+4+2=15): Ovie, Semin, Backstrom, Clark, Nylander, Laich, Steckel, Flash, Brads, Green, Poti, Pothier, Erskine, Theo, Varly.

RFAs (6): Gordo, Fehr, Bourque, Mo, Schultz, Juice

Young guys who may make the team (5+): Bourque, Osala, Alzner, Carlson...Aucoin (not young, but still)?

That's 25 guys right there, and we don't have a clear #2 center, or #1/2 RW, or an enforcer-type guy anywhere on that list. By my count, we've got about $45.5 million committed to the above-listed 15 signed players. So, we're probably talking about $10m in spending on RFAs and UFAs, minus whatever is dedicated to promotions from Hershey.

The next question revolves around what GMGM and BB envision for the team going forward. For example, the Steckel, Laich, Brads line has been dynamite in the playoffs, both defensively, and with opportunistic offense. Does this become our version of a 3rd line shut-down line next year? If so, what does that mean for Clark and Nylander -- neither of whom seem like great fits on the 2nd line but who aren't obvious 4th liners either? Does Clark - Gordo - Nylander work as a 4th line? If our 3rd and 4th lines are set, can we afford what it takes to stock 2 top 6 forward spots? Or does Flash - Nylander - Clark work as a "let's pray 3 wrongs make a right" 2nd line? Defensively, what do we do with the massive gridlock? Juice and Sarge would be cheaper, but Mo is better. IMO, we're definitely not brining back all 3, and it's not 100% that we even bring back 2. Etc, etc, etc. There are a ton of moving parts to this thing.
It actually can even out pretty quickly. Carlson gets a year of development (rushing defensemen often backfires). I think Mo, Fehr, Bourque, etc., should be packaged for Grabovski and Ponikarovsky, that should solve the #2 center issue for a long time and possibly the RW issue as well. Steckel and Laich definitely are a good checking line nucleus, but I think we need someone more consistent and gifted than Bradley for it to be a real threat. I'd be all for bringing up Osala to fill that void, or having Ponikarovsky there if Kozlov is retained. Nylander and Schultz may be attractive commodities for Florida or Atlanta, but we're likely stuck with Nylander. I don't think we really need an enforcer if we have a bunch of bangers and middleweights like Erskine, Beagle, Bradley and a weaponized clark.

My ideal forward lineup for next year:

Ovechkin Backstrom Kozlov
Semin Grabovski Fleischmann
Laich Steckel Ponikarovsky (also a 1st or 2nd line option)
Clark Beagle Bradley

Gordon, Fedorov (moved in in case of injury or for D sometimes)

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05-06-2009, 02:56 PM
  #21
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No you are right Pothier has been good, but to have Alzner you need to replace him with a similar player.

Mo and Juice, still provide a physical presence.

Green though he bites now, eats up a lot of minutes. No way Green is going.

Sloan we need for his physicality as well.

But who would you prefer to go, just asking?

First of all Alzner and Pothier are not similar players. Pothier is a veteran, fast, mobile offensive defenseman. Alzner is a rookie stay at home. He is not slow, but he does not skate nearly as well as Pothier. Alzner does not have nearly the offensive zone game that Pothier has.

These are two completely different players and as Poti is the only other veteran defenseman on the roster and the Caps are loaded with young players, Pothier's skill set is more needed than Alzner's.

I expect Alzner will be a top 4, possibly top pair defenseman, but there is a reason why Alzner is sitting and watching Pothier and Tyler Sloan.

As for what to improve them?

In the playoffs, they need to be mentally stronger. The Caps that come out in the first period and threaten to run you out of the building have not shown for the playoffs as yet. They have started each game tentatively, particularly at home. That they have won 5 games in a row without their typical first periods only means they can be more dominant than they have been.

For next season: They need to keep their experience level up on way or the other and possibly add to that. They may well not have Nylander and Theodore next season and Kozlov and Fedorov have expiring contracts. As mentioned above they are very thin on experience on defense. If they go with a rookie goalie next season, adding some experience on defense is smart.

Fedorov said this in an interview I saw here today that the Caps main area of improvement is the professionalism of coming to work everyday and putting your best effort forward. Good things happen with good habits. We have heard this from him as an axiom. If the Caps mental approach allows them to dominate the poor teams in the league like Boston did this season, while having similar success against that top teams, the Capitals will be the 1 seed next season without any major changes to the roster or the coaching.


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05-06-2009, 03:21 PM
  #22
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It actually can even out pretty quickly. Carlson gets a year of development (rushing defensemen often backfires). I think Mo, Fehr, Bourque, etc., should be packaged for Grabovski and Ponikarovsky, that should solve the #2 center issue for a long time and possibly the RW issue as well. Steckel and Laich definitely are a good checking line nucleus, but I think we need someone more consistent and gifted than Bradley for it to be a real threat. I'd be all for bringing up Osala to fill that void, or having Ponikarovsky there if Kozlov is retained. Nylander and Schultz may be attractive commodities for Florida or Atlanta, but we're likely stuck with Nylander. I don't think we really need an enforcer if we have a bunch of bangers and middleweights like Erskine, Beagle, Bradley and a weaponized clark.

My ideal forward lineup for next year:

Ovechkin Backstrom Kozlov
Semin Grabovski Fleischmann
Laich Steckel Ponikarovsky (also a 1st or 2nd line option)
Clark Beagle Bradley

Gordon, Fedorov (moved in in case of injury or for D sometimes)
Not that your trade idea is necessarily a terrible one per se (from a value perspective), but I really dislike plans predicated on trading a collection of potential cast-offs for a couple of targeted players from another team. Has Burke indicated that Gabovski and Ponikarovsky are going to be moved? Do we have any reason to think he'd be interested in our package? How often do you see a group of RFAs traded for another team's RFA and an established roster player?

I also think it's a bit foolish to suggest that Feds will be re-signed as some sort of utility player who doesn't fill a regular role in the starting lineup. You've already committed over $5m just by suggesting that we re-sign Kozlov and pick up the two guys from the Leafs. Begle and Gordo is another $1.5m. So, that leaves something like $3-3.5m to fill the 5-7 defensive ranks. If you intend Alzner to be one of those players, that's $1.3m right there. Re-sign Jurcina, I guess? That would leave us about $1m from the cap without Fedorov, and without a #7 defensemen. Not going to work, IMO.

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05-06-2009, 04:32 PM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex28 View Post
It actually can even out pretty quickly. Carlson gets a year of development (rushing defensemen often backfires). I think Mo, Fehr, Bourque, etc., should be packaged for Grabovski and Ponikarovsky, that should solve the #2 center issue for a long time and possibly the RW issue as well. Steckel and Laich definitely are a good checking line nucleus, but I think we need someone more consistent and gifted than Bradley for it to be a real threat. I'd be all for bringing up Osala to fill that void, or having Ponikarovsky there if Kozlov is retained. Nylander and Schultz may be attractive commodities for Florida or Atlanta, but we're likely stuck with Nylander. I don't think we really need an enforcer if we have a bunch of bangers and middleweights like Erskine, Beagle, Bradley and a weaponized clark.

My ideal forward lineup for next year:

Ovechkin Backstrom Kozlov
Semin Grabovski Fleischmann
Laich Steckel Ponikarovsky (also a 1st or 2nd line option)
Clark Beagle Bradley

Gordon, Fedorov (moved in in case of injury or for D sometimes)
Boy, umm....no.

1. McPhee and Boudreau like the Hershey Bear Championship nature of their hockey team. You can see without looking too closely that Boudreau sees this team developing as a championship team along the same lines as the Hershey team. Neither are going to ask for an infusion of failed Toronto theory in areas where the Caps are not needy. Meaning I could see a trade for Kaberle or even Kubina, but no chance they use assets for forwards.

2. McPhee has said repeatedly that he wants to using his system to fill whereever possible. He can not callup experience and a veteran player might be acquired or even two, if say Fedorov were to retire. Bourque is the leading scorer in Hershey this playoffs. He is cheap and part of the same plan that Laich, Gordon, Steckel, Fleischmann, and Fehr are. He plays here first. Certainly before an expensive veteran like Poni plays here.

3. Fedorov never agrees to sign as an extra player. Period. Maybe you haven't noticed but he is centering the first line.

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05-06-2009, 06:04 PM
  #24
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Building the team for next season should be very interesting. No reason to worry too much about will this or that contract get done, because the Caps can pretty much afford to lose any free agent (RFA or UFA) this summer. I'm mildly concerned about GMGM overpaying someone slightly, but other than that I don't think there is much risk of him messing this up. The biggest bonus would be to get rid of Nylander/Theo/Clark, but it's not like the team will be in cap hell if they stay. Just a very nice situation to be in with lots of options.

I terms of potentially bringing someone in, I'm still into the Pronger idea, but only for the right price. Other than that, an interesting idea would be to get rid of Nylander and Fedorov (unless he takes a biggish pay cut) and bring in Saku Koivu for a few years. I'm not one to usually pimp Finnish players, but this guy is a great leader, playoff player and person who could really help the Caps as a second line center. I have no idea if this would be a possible move, just throwing it out there. I assume Koivu would have interest in the Caps because of the contender status, if for no other reason. Saku will turn 35 this fall, so he doesn't have much time left to win that Cup.

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05-06-2009, 06:28 PM
  #25
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I think getting a Tuomo Ruutu or Ryan Callahan to play one of the top two right wing positions would be a brilliant move for the Caps. Basically just get a extremely high energy guy that will throw a ton of hits and put the puck in the net, I think that will open up room for Ovechkin or Semin, and adds the grit.

Other than that I think getting a top-notch shutdown defender would do wonders for the Caps younger defensemen in just getting them settled down a bit.

Other than that I think that Caps are absolutely solid, both currently and in the future.

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