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Old
07-11-2011, 06:09 AM
  #26
Millhaus
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Originally Posted by Drake1588 View Post
Ovechkin, Semin, Green, Backstrom and now Laich are the heavy lifters on this club. Those guys bring it, and the Caps win. They don't and nothing else the team does really matters. Now, I either like or love the new additions, a big fan, but it's still all on the shoulders of the guys that you could consider 'core' to the team.
I pretty much agree with all this though I'd swap Laich for Boudreau needing to adjust his coaching style as being an important part of what this team can do going forward. New contract or not Laich is still the same player IMO.

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07-11-2011, 06:41 AM
  #27
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I am, of course, not impressed again this offseason.

Gaffes: signing Laich at all, signing Laich--a utility infielder--to an All-Star SS contract, keeping Boudreau around for more punishment

The moves that were made were not cohesive. If Alzner bails, then the D will actually be bad again. If he stays they should be better with Hamrlik.

Varly was the best goalie we had and he's gone now. Vokoun might help for this year, but what then? Can we sign him for 4-5mill next year? I don't think we can so he is not the long-term solution at G.

Our C depth is comical. Center is the most important posish there is except for goalie. The Caps are eternally weak at C. It's no surprise we get swiftly bounced every year.

The new wingers should add a little energy. But the team
is still way too easy to play against.

Don't shoot the messenger.

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Old
07-11-2011, 07:41 AM
  #28
Millhaus
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Originally Posted by Atlas View Post
If Alzner bails, then the D will actually be bad again.
Why do so many feel this actually has a reasonable chance of happening? How is Alzner going to bail?

I mean you might as well qualify everything with 'if the building collapses while the team is practicing and everyone is killed' the team will blow also...

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07-11-2011, 07:49 AM
  #29
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Originally Posted by Millhaus View Post
Why do so many feel this actually has a reasonable chance of happening? How is Alzner going to bail?

I mean you might as well qualify everything with 'if the building collapses while the team is practicing and everyone is killed' the team will blow also...
Well, according to some, that would probably be an improvement.

Alzner not being signed yet is (I'm betting) going to end up being the most overplayed non-story of this offseason. Again, people can't comprehend that virtually no high-end RFAs have signed yet.

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07-11-2011, 07:49 AM
  #30
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so many? rh hasnt like the alzner plan for years and seemingly wants him to bolt. other than atlas who is anti anything caps who else thinks alzner is looking for an offer sheet?

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07-11-2011, 08:29 AM
  #31
Drake1588
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Alzner loves it here, and they love him, and he couldn't leave if he wanted to go, so I'm not sure what people are smoking.

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07-11-2011, 08:49 AM
  #32
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Originally Posted by Drake1588 View Post
Alzner loves it here, and they love him, and he couldn't leave if he wanted to go, so I'm not sure what people are smoking.
But he is bitter about having to play in Hershey and is looking to exact his revenge or haven't you heard...?

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07-11-2011, 08:52 AM
  #33
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Originally Posted by Drake1588 View Post
Alzner loves it here, and they love him, and he couldn't leave if he wanted to go, so I'm not sure what people are smoking.
******** aren't sharing either!

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07-11-2011, 10:00 AM
  #34
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Last season wasn't the year...I think many of us agreed with that. The Tampa series really stung and exposed some of what was missing towards the overall goal.

Trading for Brouwer, signing Ward and Halpern are steps in the right direction.

So has my opinion changed....not really....still in line to make another run or three at the cup over the next few seasons. Still need some tinkering to the top end contracts of Semin and potentially Green to either moving one of the two or making a commitment to the one of the two (Green I'd guess).

Overall, I think the change to the more defensive system will pay off this season. Just need the top end guys to show up when the time comes.

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07-11-2011, 10:01 AM
  #35
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I like what they are trying to do right now. I do have some reservations by the fact we are close to the cap and still have some holes.

1) Everyone talks about a 2nd line center...I think we really need a shutdown 3rd line center more than anything. Maybe Laich will be that guy?? Who knows.

2) I hope they are trying to get rid of this "3 scoring lines" nonsense. We need a legit 3rd line along the lines of Halpern/Kono/Dahlen and going a bit farther back basically any line with Kelly Miller on it (Poulin, Pivonka, Ridley etc). Tampa's 3rd line killed us last year. Chicago always gives vancouver fits mainly due to David Bollands line. The Devils had John Madden and co in their heyday. We need a legit 3rd line and I'm not sure we have the defensive wingers capable of truly doing that. Not sure how good Ward is defensively and Brouwer is an punishing attacking player not a great defender.

3) MOST importantly...ummm...where is the physical Vet dman?? Hamrlik? I mean how many puck movers do we really need?? Can't we get a better version of Erskine in the top 4 somehow?? Is it that hard? Buffalo got Regehr for peanuts essentially while we IMO overspent for a redundant type player in Hamrlik.

I like the upgrade physically up front. I like the fact we got a vet goalie for cheap and traded Varly (whom I loved) for a potential lotto pick. I like we got more veteran presence instead of constantly going younger the last couple years.

But I'm still not convinced we have the proper ingredients to succeed in the playoffs based on last year. Keenan was right that the team is fragile mentally. Ovechkin shows up to play but not many other players do.

But in the end if Ovechkin and Backstrom come into the season in shape and back to form we will win the east easily.

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Old
07-11-2011, 10:18 AM
  #36
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Originally Posted by strungout View Post
Last season wasn't the year...I think many of us agreed with that. The Tampa series really stung and exposed some of what was missing towards the overall goal..
I think most of us knew that committing to adding johansson, alzner, carlson, neuvirth all at once meant that winning the cup last season was not as important as getting those players established sooner.

They got their swing at the cup anyway. They made and attempt at the deadline to fill in with some experience, but that largely failed do to injury. Again, who thought the Caps were going to win the cup with a rookie goalie, two rookie defense as the shut down pair, and an injured vet and a 20 year old rookie at 2c and 3c?

unfortunately, if you agree with that basic idea, you can't blame the coaching and cant all the team chokers with the same cred. you could actually make the case that the coaching was outstanding considering all those rookies.

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07-11-2011, 10:22 AM
  #37
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Last year was a ton of rookies making the lineup combined with every single offensive star having a down year by their career statistics...since we won't be integrating any rookies into the lineup this year with combined rebounds of our offensive stars the Caps will do fine.

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07-11-2011, 10:25 AM
  #38
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unfortunately, if you agree with that basic idea, you can't blame the coaching and cant all the team chokers with the same cred. you could actually make the case that the coaching was outstanding considering all those rookies.
Well, yeah.

I never really criticized the coaching staff for this anyways. I have my issues with Boudreau, but didn't pin the playoff fail on him. The players didn't step up, and yeah, I suppose you could blame the coach for that, but I don't.

Overall...still heading in the right direction. Don't like not keeping Hannan over Hamrlik, but whatever. Semin needs to go, but whatever.

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07-11-2011, 10:28 AM
  #39
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just a question visa vie regehr and peanuts. kotalik? $3m of cap space lost was part of that deal. a big part. what would the caps have done with him? my impression was that to get regehr you had to take kotalik off their hands

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07-11-2011, 10:32 AM
  #40
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Originally Posted by strungout View Post
Well, yeah.

I never really criticized the coaching staff for this anyways. I have my issues with Boudreau, but didn't pin the playoff fail on him. The players didn't step up, and yeah, I suppose you could blame the coach for that, but I don't.

Overall...still heading in the right direction. Don't like not keeping Hannan over Hamrlik, but whatever. Semin needs to go, but whatever.
i agree completely. its just an unpopular position. i dont agree with hannan out/hammer in, but i think i understand what he's thinking. hamrlik replaces poti. he clearly thinks that skating on defense and passing the puck to the forwards is the key.
i'd imagine that he thought skating hannan and schultz or schultz and erskine together was untenable and wanted to be sure to avoid that next playoffs.

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07-11-2011, 10:57 AM
  #41
Drake1588
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I'm not sure Boudreau has all the answers, but the implosion last season was not a coaching issue to me. Significant swathes of that roster didn't compete for a whole (abbreviated) round.

I don't think that a coach can make you want to win the Stanley Cup. Most of that hunger has to come from within. Cajolery only gets a coach so far. Self motivation was sorely lacking, and I'm glad to see the amount of turnover. All I'd still like to see is more of it involving the core, the guys who are going to play 18-22 minutes for a forward, 25+ minutes for a defenseman. Turnover is all well and good, but if it's exclusively involving the players who get 10, 12 minutes a game, it's only going to help you so much.

I do know that my lasting memory was that I tuned out of hockey for a solid 2-3 weeks after the second round ended, because my own post-series analysis was grim as hell. They up and quit, and it was a group affair. It was singularly depressing to imagine where they were to go from there, at the time. Now? That still lingers. I like McPhee's moves, and who knows how far a veteran elite goalie can take them, and potentially their confidence. Yet in lean times, I still wonder if this team as a group can dig deep and find reserves of jam to see them through the push back from a determined foe.

My gut at the time said that the team needed to move on from Semin and Green, and was starting to churn at the prospect that Backstrom's unflappable Swedery might hurt him at playoff time. I'm more sanguine now, but I still worry about the makeup of the core a bit.

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Old
07-11-2011, 11:03 AM
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake1588 View Post
I'm not sure Boudreau has all the answers, but the implosion last season was not a coaching issue to me. Significant swathes of that roster didn't compete for a whole (abbreviated) round.

I don't think that a coach can make you want to win the Stanley Cup. Most of that hunger has to come from within. Cajolery only gets a coach so far. Self motivation was sorely lacking, and I'm glad to see the amount of turnover. All I'd still like to see is more of it involving the core, the guys who are going to play 18-22 minutes for a forward, 25+ minutes for a defenseman. Turnover is all well and good, but if it's exclusively involving the players who get 10, 12 minutes a game, it's only going to help you so much.

I do know that my lasting memory was that I tuned out of hockey for a solid 2-3 weeks after the second round ended, because my own post-series analysis was grim as hell. They up and quit, and it was a group affair. It was singularly depressing to imagine where they were to go from there, at the time. Now? That still lingers. I like McPhee's moves, and who knows how far a veteran elite goalie can take them, and potentially their confidence. Yet in lean times, I still wonder if this team as a group can dig deep and find reserves of jam to see them through the push back from a determined foe.

My gut at the time said that the team needed to move on from Semin and Green, and was starting to churn at the prospect that Backstrom's unflappable Swedery might hurt him at playoff time. I'm more sanguine now, but I still worry about the makeup of the core a bit.
This is easily the best phrase I've seen all week. Also on a side note I more or less agree.

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Old
07-11-2011, 11:04 AM
  #43
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Washington's single most important player, as a swing vote, is Nicklas Backstrom. As long as he's healthy, Ovechkin provides steady, reliable production and attitude. I don't worry about him. He's the team's best player, and he almost always plays like it. That almost cancels out, since you know what you are getting from him every night.

Yet Backstrom is both a lynchpin and not always so reliable. Backstrom can be an elite player, and he can be lethargic, out of shape, disengaged, and reduced to providing no more than defensive play. Johansson was impressive as hell last year, but he's not a #1 center... yet. Backstrom needs to play well or the Caps are going nowhere. If he does play well, and Johansson's progression continues, I'll be a lot happier than I was in May.

For my money, Marcus Johansson was either the Caps' best forward or 1b with Ovechkin in the playoffs. That's tremendous. The kids in general were great.

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07-11-2011, 11:06 AM
  #44
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I agree with, as I've said before a few times, that the coaching/motivation etc isn't the reason the team lost this year, or last year vs. Montreal. Last year notably in Game 5 and then for most of the brief series with Tampa, the major players on the team didn't step up. Period.

I've also said what others have mentioned as well, that if you need your coach to motivate you or somehow make you realize that the Cup playoffs are a big deal and you should bring your A game accordingly, then you don't belong in the sport. Boudreau is not an idiot, he came in and with the same players Hanlon had turned the team around. Last season he took a high-scoring, who cares about defense team and turned them into a defense-first team almost literally overnight. Bad coaches or morons don't have that kind of ability. The reality is several key members of this team dogged it...again. And Tampa Bay had some guys step up and they acted like they gave a damn.

As for the original question, as I see the thread de-volving slightly into another Bruce sucks rant...I'd say yes, the offseason has changed my mindset somewhat. They've brought in some toughness and generall improved the lower lines. The goaltending has gotten better. I think the Caps will still be anywhere from 1-3 in the East, but what happens in the playoffs is anyone's guess. Like others have said, this team will live and die based on the play of it's core guys and best weapons, regardless of how the lower lines have improved.

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07-11-2011, 11:14 AM
  #45
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Determination and work ethic have a tendency to be infectious... that seems to be the hope and theme of the off-season to me.

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07-11-2011, 11:41 AM
  #46
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Gaffes: signing Laich at all, signing Laich--a utility infielder--to an All-Star SS contract.
The contract isn't any type of discount, but the cap went up 8M and it was close to market value given the other signings. I think he can give MoJo a bit of a stress valve and he could center a decent responsible 3rd line.

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The moves that were made were not cohesive. If Alzner bails, then the D will actually be bad again. If he stays they should be better with Hamrlik.
Sloan was shipped out, Hamrlik signed and Hanann not resigned. Alzner bailing would be a bit of a bind no doubt, but I agree with most others that a deal will be done. At that point I think there is a pretty solid D core in place.

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Varly was the best goalie we had and he's gone now. Vokoun might help for this year, but what then? Can we sign him for 4-5mill next year? I don't think we can so he is not the long-term solution at G.
Neuvy and Holtby both upped their game big time. Varly was good when he played. Add on him wanting to be handed top goalie money and the KHL threat and I have no problems with GMGM moving him out. Did I mention we get back a fairly firm top 10 pick and a second rounder? Vokoun is a great signing. If he doesn't work out this year we only lost 1.5M and we have Neuvy and Holtby waiting to take over. It could also end up Vokoun gets a solid team in front of him and goes lights out and finally gets a taste of winning and signs a favorable contract extension. If it ends up in the middle, once again we've only lost 1.5M and a year.

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Our C depth is comical. Center is the most important posish there is except for goalie. The Caps are eternally weak at C. It's no surprise we get swiftly bounced every year.
MoJo picks up on his face offs and we have a solid center depth to work from. Halpern is more or less a budget friendly Gordo and I don't think most people have an issue with that move or Gordo last year. Laich is solid option as a 3rd line center and Halpern could move up and Beagle/Hendricks could make due. It could get weak at that point, but lets see how things play out.

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Old
07-11-2011, 12:00 PM
  #47
Millhaus
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Originally Posted by Drake1588 View Post
I'm not sure Boudreau has all the answers, but the implosion last season was not a coaching issue to me. Significant swathes of that roster didn't compete for a whole (abbreviated) round.

I don't think that a coach can make you want to win the Stanley Cup. Most of that hunger has to come from within. Cajolery only gets a coach so far. Self motivation was sorely lacking, and I'm glad to see the amount of turnover. All I'd still like to see is more of it involving the core, the guys who are going to play 18-22 minutes for a forward, 25+ minutes for a defenseman. Turnover is all well and good, but if it's exclusively involving the players who get 10, 12 minutes a game, it's only going to help you so much.

I do know that my lasting memory was that I tuned out of hockey for a solid 2-3 weeks after the second round ended, because my own post-series analysis was grim as hell. They up and quit, and it was a group affair. It was singularly depressing to imagine where they were to go from there, at the time. Now? That still lingers. I like McPhee's moves, and who knows how far a veteran elite goalie can take them, and potentially their confidence. Yet in lean times, I still wonder if this team as a group can dig deep and find reserves of jam to see them through the push back from a determined foe.

My gut at the time said that the team needed to move on from Semin and Green, and was starting to churn at the prospect that Backstrom's unflappable Swedery might hurt him at playoff time. I'm more sanguine now, but I still worry about the makeup of the core a bit.
I watched plenty of hockey after the Caps laid their egg and the A Number 1 thing that stood out to me was the organized way the teams tried to move the puck up the ice and attack the other team's goal. They weren't always successful but at least they had a plan.

They weren't doing this because they 'wanted' it more they were doing it because they were coached to do it. And when it didn't work the coaches made actual tactical adjustments and the players adhered to those adjustments.

I will agree that by game 4 the Caps had mostly given up but it wasn't like the plan was working or that the coaching staff was making any adjustments to a scheme that obviously wasn't working.

If your general's only strategy is to turn his troops into cannon fodder via endless frontal assaults the troops aren't going to give their all for too long. The Caps didn't get swept in that series because they didn't care. They got swept because they couldn't generate any offense and the coaching staff's only 'adjustment' was to tell them to play harder and fool around with the lines.

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07-11-2011, 12:17 PM
  #48
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Well said millhaus. The easiest no brainer adjustment I thought was trying a different G for game 3. The second, roll the ugly psuedo trap. We did neither.

Fixing the offense seems all about line shuffling. But when players play as an individual, line changes are simple to defend. That is our offense. Hey everyone, no matter who Ovi is with, he will bear down on our RD fade in a tad a shoot. Whichever line Knuble is on, he will crash the net. Semin will ignore his linemates. All their C's will be shaded up because their dman WILL pinch at every chance. Throw the puck around to Sarge and watch Nick retreat.

Unless Vokoun steals games for us, I see our playoff fate unchanged. I have lost faith that Bruce can have our offense working as a fine tuned machine, and make adjustments. He and many of us got spoiled by the great individual efforts. He now needs to adjust to a more team oriented offense. Make it happen Bruce. Copy other teams if need be.

OUT WORK THEM is laughable.


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Old
07-11-2011, 12:19 PM
  #49
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The offseason moves have definitely cheered me up as a caps fan. I generally like all the moves some more so than others. The last two regular seasons have been roller coasters. I think now I just look forward to watching my favorite team playing the best sport in the world.

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07-11-2011, 12:40 PM
  #50
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It'll be nice to see a few new faces over the course of 82 games, but I don't (and can't) feel any more optimistic until they've actually gone further than the last few years in the playoffs.

Though it is nice to see a lot of the always-injured are now gone.

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