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04-08-2014, 06:58 PM
  #1
TheJoeMan
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Bruce Boudreau

I'm writing a column about Boudreau and his perceived inability to win in the playoffs. I would love some feedback from Caps fans on this subject. Specifically what do you guys think went wrong in the playoffs during his tenure in D.C. It's been well documented how dominate his teams have been in the regular season and how they haven't had much success in the playoffs. Do you guys feel he was out-coached or ran this team poorly when it mattered most? Was there some other factors that a causal observer like myself wouldn't be aware of? What about the leadership on the ice? I see Ovechkin's captaincy seems to be a hot button issue right now. Do you think he shares as much of the blame?

As Ducks fans we've been hearing this since he got here and there seemed to be some truth to it since we got bounced in the first round last year. Personally I feel there were a lot of things working against us last spring and the least of which was his coaching abilities. But I would love to hear what you guys have to say on the subject.

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04-08-2014, 07:02 PM
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Boudreau was routinely outcoached in the playoffs, and failed to make adjustments to counteract the opponent's system. He would shuffle lines, but not change strategy or systems play. On more than one time, it seemed like the other coach was in his head (see him pulling the team off ice because he felt the Montreal staff was watching his powerplay practice).

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04-08-2014, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJoeMan View Post
how dominate his teams have been in the regular season
Honestly, if you don't know the difference between "dominate," a verb, and "dominant," an adjective, you probably shouldn't be writing any columns.

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04-08-2014, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Liberati0n View Post
Honestly, if you don't know the difference between "dominate," a verb, and "dominant," an adjective, you probably shouldn't be writing any columns.
Because I'm sure your brain has never accidentally told you to write the wrong word before.

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04-08-2014, 07:19 PM
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Liberati0n*
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Because I'm sure your brain has never accidentally told you to write the wrong word before.
If that's what happened then obviously never mind. For some reason, people on hfboards legitimately confuse those two words, so I'm not sure. I never would've imagined it was possible otherwise.

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04-08-2014, 07:22 PM
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Bruce's main problem now is building weight he carries with every early playoffs exit. His fault or not.
he is tagged with that til he throws it off. If the ducks win the first two games of round one the opposing team will bring it up like clockwork

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04-08-2014, 07:36 PM
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I don't think it could be pinned on poor leadership. The group as a whole was young but there were some veteran guys on each team to balance it out. Bruce had Knuble, Brashear, Fedorov, Kozlov, Poti, Cooke, Huet, etc. at different points in his tenure. I think it had to do with being outcoached and inexperience by both the coaching staff and players. We will see how he does this time around. I love Bruce but until he gets to at least the WCF or SCF he is always going to be plagued as a "regular season coach"

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04-08-2014, 07:38 PM
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I recall Bruce being asked about coaching differences after being in Anaheim and one thing I can remember was line matching more than he did with the capitals.

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04-08-2014, 07:46 PM
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Every series was different.

He was quick to yank goalies even though they were the clear cut number 1 but then wouldn't go back to the starter when the backup faltered. Other times, didn't change at all en route to a 0-4 loss.

He made no attempt to match lines, even at home. He had no checking line so had no defensive assignments to use up a goal late.

He rode broken players far too much. Think Green vs Pitt when he couldn't shoot yet was getting full PP time.

He favored his guy Fleishmann even though he was soft as butter and getting eaten alive on the boards, even on the PP. Montreal was the worst.

He didn't exploit or target opponent weaknesses that are available in a 7 game series.

Overall, I think he just lacked experience and was stubborn to try something new. Overnight success had a hand in that. He stuck to what worked too long.


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04-08-2014, 08:09 PM
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He never had an NHL defense, and rarely had a goalie step up.

Those were easily his two biggest problems.

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04-08-2014, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by NobodyBeatsTheWiz View Post
He never had an NHL defense, and rarely had a goalie step up.

Those were easily his two biggest problems.
To that I'd add:

Started to second guess himself and decided to move the team away from what gave them great regular season success and changed systems.

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04-08-2014, 09:28 PM
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in 500+ NHL regular season games he has a HoF-like winning percentage (.661)... He's had enough talent to get those kind of results but in the post season...matching up in a best of 7, he is 20-24

I think he will put an end to this soon but for now you cant just look at that and say "well he didnt have enough D" or similar

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04-08-2014, 09:47 PM
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Wide open offense "I'll score more than you will!" only works when the compete level is average.

When it rises to the level of team play it seems to in the playoffs... it just simply doesn't work.

Of course he had scraps on the blueline to work with, I feel Anaheim's blueline is far superior to anything he ever iced in DC. So time will tell but I wouldn't be surprised to see the ducks choke early under the bb method.

Honestly, and I could be wrong, I think the Ducks only did so well this season because BB played out his game in the East. The West barely saw him (or it).

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04-08-2014, 10:37 PM
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It has already been stated for the most part, but his biggest problem is his lack of adjustments. Not big ones, but the little stuff that would've made a difference like in the MTL series, making sure to get someone in front of the net, in the Pens series, not telling his guys to match all the dirty **** the Pens were pulling, etc.

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04-09-2014, 08:49 AM
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Not sure what kind of adjustments BB needed to make in the montreal series. Now if that adjustment involved turning Jeff Schultz into Chris Pronger then I agree.

You fire 54 shots on a goalie in regulation and he makes 53 saves then you tip your hat to him. He plays 3 elimination games in a row like that and there is simply not much you can do about it.

The Pitt series we were hideously out power played (34-19) and had no real dmen on the team outside of Poti and Green.

The Flyers series we were outplayed the first 3 games. He made the adjustments and we outplayed them the last 4 games. We definitely deserved to win that game 7 IMO

Tampa series was an epic debacle. To this day I don't remember seeing as many goals bounce off skates or from behind the net. Caps did not get a SINGLE bounce like that in the Montreal series.

We didn't have the horses on D and we rolled with poor or inexperienced goaltending throughout. Thats not on BB

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04-09-2014, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobRouse View Post
Not sure what kind of adjustments BB needed to make in the montreal series. Now if that adjustment involved turning Jeff Schultz into Chris Pronger then I agree.

You fire 54 shots on a goalie in regulation and he makes 53 saves then you tip your hat to him. He plays 3 elimination games in a row like that and there is simply not much you can do about it.

The Pitt series we were hideously out power played (34-19) and had no real dmen on the team outside of Poti and Green.

The Flyers series we were outplayed the first 3 games. He made the adjustments and we outplayed them the last 4 games. We definitely deserved to win that game 7 IMO

Tampa series was an epic debacle. To this day I don't remember seeing as many goals bounce off skates or from behind the net. Caps did not get a SINGLE bounce like that in the Montreal series.

We didn't have the horses on D and we rolled with poor or inexperienced goaltending throughout. Thats not on BB
In the TB series he did not adjust to their trap (despite what some say) and he did not adjust to their gameplan of throwing pucks at the net/crease from EVERYWHERE. This was so well known that the TV announcers were even talking about it, but BB and his players still seemed surprised by all the pucks being flung from bad angles.

In the MTL series the PP needed to be fixed almost immediately, iirc. Fix the PP and keep the players FOCUSED instead of letting them get complacent (which they admit they did) and that series probably has a different result. And despite the high shot totals most games, a lot of those shots were not good quality and MTL was blocking a ton of them per their stated strategy. The simple and obvious adjustment of FAKING A SHOT to get the defender out of position would have changed that.

Vs Pittsburgh you could tell the players were letting the lopsided officiating get to them. BB needed to settle them down and condition them to ignore the refs and forget the bad calls. If a penalty is called, just kill it. Don't argue, don't get mad. It won't change anything. Just get the job done. Game 7 was a mental breakdown from a mentally weak team.

Agree on the Philly series. Should've won that one.

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04-09-2014, 09:01 AM
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One big adjustment he never tried against Montreal was getting MP into the lineup.

Another, was deciding to ft. Flash on PP1 where he was not used much that year. I think he benched Laich? Tried finesse over the screen. Our PP was laughable in that series IIRC.

He finally benched Flash but put in Scottie Walker for his final curtain call in the NHL.

MP being from Montreal I still contend would have been flying more than he was consistently doing in his callups. He did it all year and was good for instant offense in 3 game spurts.

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04-09-2014, 09:06 AM
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I don't know how much you can really do in the Tampa series. The "fling pucks to the net from any angle and pray it hits something and goes in" ...well there's not much defense for it if it works out. As Boucher found out that strategy is simply not sustainable as it heavily relies on luck to go your way.

And if we recall BB DID find a way to counter the Tampa 1-3-1!!! He did it in a regular season game!! I maybe remembering this wrong...but a few weeks later the Flyers copied him and the refs had none of it. They blew the whistle and had the draw in the Flyers zone. Awful by the NHL!!! The basically promoted the Trap!! The league made it clear that you can't use that strategy vs the 1-3-1 and it paved the way for Boucher to continue to use it. Again ..maybe I'm wrong and Laviolette used that the following year and the NHL did that...

Again..vs Montreal maybe there are some tweaks to the powerplay. Maybe some other things. But the fact remains we scored 3 goals on about 150 shots over the last 3 games. Alexander Semin had 44 shots without a goal. It was a complete abberation and we ran up against an impossibly hot goalie. Montreal knocked off the defending champs in nearly identical fashion (we actually dominated Monty more than Pitt did). That was an epic goaltending performance over those 2 series by Halak.

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04-09-2014, 09:16 AM
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In the TB series he did not adjust to their trap (despite what some say) and he did not adjust to their gameplan of throwing pucks at the net/crease from EVERYWHERE..
this was effectively the caps plan against the montreal. the caps shot far more pucks at the montreal net with no results. I find it hard to believe that you can give the lightning credit for throwing the puck at the caps net and hoping for a good bounce and then rip the capitals for their shot selection vs montreal.

maybe I don't see the nuance to the differences.

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04-09-2014, 09:41 AM
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I don't know how much you can really do in the Tampa series. The "fling pucks to the net from any angle and pray it hits something and goes in" ...well there's not much defense for it if it works out. As Boucher found out that strategy is simply not sustainable as it heavily relies on luck to go your way.

And if we recall BB DID find a way to counter the Tampa 1-3-1!!! He did it in a regular season game!! I maybe remembering this wrong...but a few weeks later the Flyers copied him and the refs had none of it. They blew the whistle and had the draw in the Flyers zone. Awful by the NHL!!! The basically promoted the Trap!! The league made it clear that you can't use that strategy vs the 1-3-1 and it paved the way for Boucher to continue to use it. Again ..maybe I'm wrong and Laviolette used that the following year and the NHL did that...

Again..vs Montreal maybe there are some tweaks to the powerplay. Maybe some other things. But the fact remains we scored 3 goals on about 150 shots over the last 3 games. Alexander Semin had 44 shots without a goal. It was a complete abberation and we ran up against an impossibly hot goalie. Montreal knocked off the defending champs in nearly identical fashion (we actually dominated Monty more than Pitt did). That was an epic goaltending performance over those 2 series by Halak.

Nothing that you said about the stall tactic vs the trap had anything to do with it being used in the TB series, and BB having no other answer. And you absolutely can do something about your goaltender not hugging the post when the puck is wide, and your defensemen not expecting shots or centering passes. It wasn't just luck, it was lack of adjustment.

MTL's success using their strategy vs the Caps is independent of their future success. It's not an excuse. There were adjustments to be made and BB didn't make them.

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04-09-2014, 09:50 AM
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Nothing that you said about the stall tactic vs the trap had anything to do with it being used in the TB series, and BB having no other answer. And you absolutely can do something about your goaltender not hugging the post when the puck is wide, and your defensemen not expecting shots or centering passes. It wasn't just luck, it was lack of adjustment.

MTL's success using their strategy vs the Caps is independent of their future success. It's not an excuse. There were adjustments to be made and BB didn't make them.
The BB tactic proved effective in the regular season so much so that other teams (Philly) used it. But that may have been following year. Fact is that pucks went off Neuvy too and our own players alot. Tampa got some sheer stupid puck luck there that we simply didn't get vs Montreal as TX said.

VS Montreal if we didn't make adjustments then Pitt was even MORE guilty since they saw our whole series and still failed. But I don't think thats the case...the reality was that Halak was on FIRE! When a goalie is playing at that level (and it was even better than the Hasek level vs Philly in 97-98) then there's simply not much you can do about it. Ottawa and Boston felt the same way when they played us in 97-98 I'm SURE because they really had territorial advantage vs us and Kolzig stood on his head.

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04-09-2014, 10:19 AM
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this was effectively the caps plan against the montreal. the caps shot far more pucks at the montreal net with no results. I find it hard to believe that you can give the lightning credit for throwing the puck at the caps net and hoping for a good bounce and then rip the capitals for their shot selection vs montreal.

maybe I don't see the nuance to the differences.
Vs MTL he Caps just shot from the perimeter way too much, or into defenders, or without going to the net. It wasn't the same as what TB did. There was no chaos or element of surprise or net crashing. The TB strategy was to surprise the goalie or the defense with wide angle attempts while crashing the net, if possible.



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...ot-chart/2011/

It's not the quantity of shots that makes the difference here, it's the characteristic and location and what happened afterwards. Note how few TB shots there are from the high slot. Compare the shot dispersion vs the Caps, who shot mostly from 3 spots (the 2 point positions for d-men and the slot, inside the circles). It's almost the opposite pattern.

Despite this being the case every game the Caps goaltender and defenders still seemed unprepared for the puck being flung to the crease. Halak and the Habs skaters WERE prepared for any shot possible, and focused on blocking them if they could.

And once again, the Caps came out flat in Game 1 vs TB because they didn't take the opponent seriously enough. I believe they admitted that. Then they tried to crank it up in Game 2 and got beaten in OT. After that I don't remember. The PP was bad to start, iirc. So add lack of mental toughness and bad PP to the list for this one, too.

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04-09-2014, 11:36 AM
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Thank you guys so much for your input. I really appreciate it. It's a little disconcerting hearing about the lack of adjustments because that's something that I've seen quite a bit this season. Teams will figure out our breakout and we suffer from an entire game of the d-men passing the puck to a stationary winger at the redline who is immediately converged upon and turns the puck over.

How was the team defense among the forwards during Boudreau's tenure? I didn't get to see too much Caps hockey but the perception is the team was all offense and no defense (which I'm sure is an exaggeration to some degree). Because the Ducks have a strong group of defensive-minded forwards like Cogliano, Koivu, Winnik and Bonino. Not to mention Getzlaf who doesn't get nearly the amount of credit he deserves for his play in his own zone and on the PK.

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04-09-2014, 03:58 PM
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-generally no adjustments (bad/late adjustments when he did do them)
-played favorites
-got into it with opposing teams/fans - cocky and distracted from coaching
-looked down on thinkin' too much (like last year when they faced the Wings and he said he didn't wanna think as hard as Mike Babcock)
-lost control of his emotions and became and angry wreck anytime anything didn't go his way, players were forced to come up with answers themselves (any answer other than WORK HAAARDAAAR that is)

basically when the playoffs rolled around he saw coaching as a sign of weakness to be scoffed at, then every time they'd get eliminated he'd just have a derp "i dunno wat just happened" face on.

tl;dr - he was an absolutely horrible playoff coach that handicapped some very good teams from achieving greatness. Hate Oates but perfectly content to let Anaheim enjoy the choking while hoping for Laviolette or someone similar. Though maybe he grew up, who knows.

Defense sucked but that doesn't excuse his actual (lack of) coaching

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04-09-2014, 04:37 PM
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Vs MTL he Caps just shot from the perimeter way too much, or into defenders, or without going to the net. It wasn't the same as what TB did. There was no chaos or element of surprise or net crashing. The TB strategy was to surprise the goalie or the defense with wide angle attempts while crashing the net, if possible.



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...ot-chart/2011/

It's not the quantity of shots that makes the difference here, it's the characteristic and location and what happened afterwards. Note how few TB shots there are from the high slot. Compare the shot dispersion vs the Caps, who shot mostly from 3 spots (the 2 point positions for d-men and the slot, inside the circles). It's almost the opposite pattern.

Despite this being the case every game the Caps goaltender and defenders still seemed unprepared for the puck being flung to the crease. Halak and the Habs skaters WERE prepared for any shot possible, and focused on blocking them if they could.

And once again, the Caps came out flat in Game 1 vs TB because they didn't take the opponent seriously enough. I believe they admitted that. Then they tried to crank it up in Game 2 and got beaten in OT. After that I don't remember. The PP was bad to start, iirc. So add lack of mental toughness and bad PP to the list for this one, too.
there is always a reasonable way to blame the capitals. ive said this before though. a shot blocker is a screener and a deflector. when you put 100 shots at the net for 3 straight games and not a single puck hits the traffic and goes in, its bad luck. just like when you are throwing the puck from the corner toward the front of the net and hitting a skate for a goal is good luck.

remember the caps v pens series? caps were up two games to none with game 3 on overtime. the pens win the game with a pass that bounces off of a caps defenseman and in for the winner. iirc, game 5 ended in ot the same way. a pass hit a cap and went in the net for the winner.

maybe that was bad coaching on boudreau's part. I don't know

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