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Death to the Undertaker....The all purpose Fire McPhee thread

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Old
05-15-2012, 09:48 AM
  #476
RandyHolt
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I sure hope I am remembering it correctly, but I think a DC reporter interviewed BB ~ a month after leaving, and he said he regrets listening to those that whispered in his ear, and changing doing what he thought was best. I believe it was related to going defensive. Someone here can certainly correct me if I am off base.

We are a team without an identity. We were Ovi's Overlords, Dale tried to make us Dale's Shot blocking Dummies, now we will be George's Gangrene until he can figure out our identity.

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05-15-2012, 09:50 AM
  #477
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you mean ... undertaker!?


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05-15-2012, 09:58 AM
  #478
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Originally Posted by RandyHolt View Post
I sure hope I am remembering it correctly, but I think a DC reporter interviewed BB ~ a month after leaving, and he said he regrets listening to those that whispered in his ear, and changing doing what he thought was best. I believe it was related to going defensive. Someone here can certainly correct me if I am off base.

We are a team without an identity. We were Ovi's Overlords, Dale tried to make us Dale's Shot blocking Dummies, now we will be George's Gangrene until he can figure out our identity.
You're right. I remember reading it too. He didn't name names or anything but he basically said "I wish I was true to myself" or something to that extent. Basically implying he should've kept doing what he believed in.

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05-15-2012, 10:04 AM
  #479
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I got the impression BB was saying he listened to the media and fans when he shouldn't have, not that anyone in particular (GMGM) made him do it.

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05-15-2012, 10:57 AM
  #480
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I got the impression BB was saying he listened to the media and fans when he shouldn't have, not that anyone in particular (GMGM) made him do it.
If it was GMGM then no way BB would have pointed the finger that openly at him.

In 24/7 there was a scene during the losing streak where GMGM alluded to the fact that this "maybe the best thing to have happened to us" or something like that.

Its anyones guess I suppose. But you can't rule out that GMGM influenced the decision.

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05-15-2012, 11:04 AM
  #481
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I got the impression BB was saying he listened to the media and fans when he shouldn't have, not that anyone in particular (GMGM) made him do it.
No way that was media pressure. That came from McPhee...

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05-15-2012, 11:49 AM
  #482
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I don't know, but I get the impression that BB was saving face. Again, both in '10-11 and post 7-0 this season we really really struggled offensively. And there was nothing defensive shell about our play just before he was fired, we were losing games with teams absolutely torching us while not scoring ourselves. I believe that Bruce was really at a loss as to how to jumpstart our offense and perhaps McPhee suggested a defensive approach during that 2010-2011 losing streak.

Revisionist theory claims that the Caps played the Lightning with the likes of Collins on the blue line. The reality is that during the first 3 games we had Green, Carlson, Alzner, Hannan, Schultz, and Erskine in the lineup. Wideman was out, but how big a loss was that for us really after seeing his performance these playoffs? My point is that we did not play defensive shell hockey against Tampa, yet scored only 2.5 goals per game, not once exceeding 3 goals. Bruce was unable to offensively counter the defensive adjustments the league made, plain and simple. So I believe he had his chance to "go with his gut".

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05-15-2012, 12:02 PM
  #483
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No way that was media pressure. That came from McPhee...
Really? No way? I disagree. After years of losing in the playoffs, and following every game with a press conference in which he's asked about his team's defensive deficiencies, I think it's possible that BB started to drink the defensive Kool Aid, and tried to get his team to do the same.

I also think it's possible that GMGM whispered in his ear, and I don't claim to know what actually happened, but again, the impression I got from BB is that he listened to the media and the fans.

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05-15-2012, 12:16 PM
  #484
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Originally Posted by Devil Dancer View Post
Really? No way? I disagree. After years of losing in the playoffs, and following every game with a press conference in which he's asked about his team's defensive deficiencies, I think it's possible that BB started to drink the defensive Kool Aid, and tried to get his team to do the same.

I also think it's possible that GMGM whispered in his ear, and I don't claim to know what actually happened, but again, the impression I got from BB is that he listened to the media and the fans.
But its been brought up before...since McPhee came here:

Ron Wilson was an offensive coach with Anaheim..a year or so later we used the "center lock"

Glen Hanlon came here and we played aggressive physical hockey (with what little we had). Halfway thru his second full year..well we started trapping.

Bruce Boudreau...we all saw what happened there.

Dale Hunter was widely known to have an offensive system with the Knights but used the trap n collapse here.

There is a trend here which can bring up the question.

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05-15-2012, 12:21 PM
  #485
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Originally Posted by Devil Dancer View Post
Really? No way? I disagree. After years of losing in the playoffs, and following every game with a press conference in which he's asked about his team's defensive deficiencies, I think it's possible that BB started to drink the defensive Kool Aid, and tried to get his team to do the same.

I also think it's possible that GMGM whispered in his ear, and I don't claim to know what actually happened, but again, the impression I got from BB is that he listened to the media and the fans.
If BB changed his strategy due to media and fan pressure then I am happier than ever that he is gone.

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05-15-2012, 12:28 PM
  #486
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If BB changed his strategy due to media and fan pressure then I am happier than ever that he is gone.
That's what I was thinking as well.

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05-15-2012, 12:32 PM
  #487
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Originally Posted by Devil Dancer
Really? No way? I disagree. After years of losing in the playoffs, and following every game with a press conference in which he's asked about his team's defensive deficiencies, I think it's possible that BB started to drink the defensive Kool Aid, and tried to get his team to do the same.

I also think it's possible that GMGM whispered in his ear, and I don't claim to know what actually happened, but again, the impression I got from BB is that he listened to the media and the fans.
I agree with every word of this.


Also, I really don't think Hunter coached much differently in London. I've never seen them play and don't actually know, but based on what I've read I really doubt it. The fact that his teams were offensively successful does not mean they played a different system. That doesn't mean McPhee didn't intentionally hire him as a trapper.

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05-15-2012, 12:56 PM
  #488
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Yeah the coaching decision should come before UFA period starts for sure..but knowing George he will wait til after...why else would he have Hunter there for the draft?? He's assuming he's not gonna have a coach in place before then...if I'm not mistaken the UFA period starts not long after the draft which would leave a very short window for hiring a guy.

McPhee seems confused. He drafts/signs and gives massive contracts to high end offensive players and then chucks them time and time again (Wilson's center lock, Hanlon, BBs trap, Hunterhockey) into all out defensive systems. He can't seem to make up his mind on how he wants to go..its always shifting.
As a fan who has been watching for a long time, I have to say, while it was fun seeing the Caps eventually make the playoffs for the first time ever after David Poile came to town and did the Langway trade; the continual playing of sound defensive hockey, getting to the playoffs, and then bowing out in one of the first two rounds (or in one case making the conference final but getting swept), i.e. David Poile hockey, was really not all that fun. Don't get me wrong--there were a lot of cool players and cool teams, a couple of exciting offensive players, and of course I like and respect pretty much all the ex-Capitals. Predators remind me a lot of the 80s teams. Poile's still at it. It's alright. I guess. They're good. I'll be shocked if they win a Cup, or a Presidents' Trophy.

There are a lot of very dramatic examples of high-powered offenses that didn't achieve great playoffs success--dramatic because they were cool to watch and everyone wanted to watch them. And there are Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers who rolled over everyone with, primarily, offense. There are also a lot of less-dramatic examples of more balanced teams, and defensively-focused teams, that never did anything in the playoffs--history is littered with them. I do not think much can be learned from history about what the best way to play is. I think all that can be learned from history is that the best teams get the most talented players, usually including pretty good goalies, and put them in a position to do whatever it is they do best.

2008-09 and 2009-10--those were the best years to be a Caps fan, I think, at least if you're like me and you actually watch every single game. And there was a lot of offense and a lot of winning, including a lot of glorious last-minute comebacks. And they got a Presidents' Trophy out of it. Had Bruce Boudreau not tried to be more defensive last year, and just kept doing his thing, I bet the Caps would've done at least a little better last year in the playoffs. I don't want to speculate on what made him feel the need to be like that last year and the beginning of this year, but if McPhee had anything to do with stifling the offense, then that's another mark against him in my book.

I'm not an expert, but I think it's possible Bruce was almost the perfect coach for these players, and maybe just needed some practice or some help with making adjustments in NHL playoffs series. I think he was unconventional, and people feel uncomfortable with that, but being one of the best is also unconventional, by definition.

Even Scotty Bowman lost some playoffs series when he started. His first five years he was 28-30 in the playoffs and had no Cups. Bruce was 17-20 in the playoffs.

Yes Bowman got to the finals in his first year with an expansion team (the Blues), but that was the year the league expanded from six to twelve teams, and all they had to do was beat two other expansion teams to get there, both with sub-.500 regular season records, and both series went to seven games, and when they finally had to face some decent opposition they got swept by the Canadiens in the finals.

He got to the finals in his second year with a second-year team, but they beat two other second-year teams, both with sub-.500 regular season records, before getting swept by the Canadiens in the finals.

He got to the finals in his third year with a third-year team, but they beat two other third-year teams, both with sub-.500 regular season records, before getting swept by the Bruins in the finals.

Then he lost in the first round two years in a row, once still with the Blues, and then again in his first year with the Canadiens.

It sounds great when you say he took an expansion team to the finals all three of his first three years, but when you really look at the reality of the quality of the opposition, and how he did against the better-than-.500 teams in the playoffs then, he didn't really achieve any real playoff success, despite going 156-99-61 in the regular season during those first five years.

Bowman went 0-12 in playoffs games against over-.500 teams in his first three years, and was 2-14 in playoffs games against over-.500 teams in his first five years, without a single series win. Only after that, his sixth year, did he start winning championships with the amazingly talented Canadiens teams he was blessed with, that very few now doubt were some of the most talented teams the world had ever seen until that point.

"As head coach of the Washington Capitals (2007-11), Boudreau won the 2007-08 Jack Adams award (NHL Coach of the Year) and led his club to the 2009-10 Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top club in the regular season. He compiled a record of 201-88-40 (.672 winning percentage) with the Capitals and won the Southeast Division four times. He became the fastest coach in modern day NHL history to win 200 games (Nov. 21, 2011 vs. Phoenix) and recorded more wins (184) in his first 300 NHL games than any NHL coach all-time." - NHL.com

That's the coach George McPhee fired after he had a bad stretch of 15 games or something (Caps won 5 of his last 15, I think).

I still can't believe this happened. I feel like McPhee and Leonsis were drunk at the time. At the time, and still now, I want(ed) to yell at them: "Give a brother a chance!" Boudreau has not had nearly enough time to prove he's just a bad playoffs coach, at least one that isn't soon going to get better. It's true that describing Boudreau's playoffs performances with the word "bad" is accurate, but it's not true that you can say, with confidence, that there is just some flaw in him that will make him a bad playoffs coach on a permanent basis. It seemed to me like playoffs success might well have been right around the corner.

And just to head off the pass some simplistic snappy retort that chastises me for comparing Boudreau to Bowman, I'm not meaning to be taken to have impliedly predicted Boudreau will go on to achieve Bowman-level greatness. That would be ridiculous, obviously, and I think everyone already knows that, so you don't have to point it out, really. But I do mean to use Bowman's early lack of playoffs success, despite some pretty good regular season success, merely as the most dramatic example for the idea that sometimes it's not the right thing to rush to judgment on whether a coach is or isn't "a good playoffs coach."

And by "rush to judgment" I'll say that means making a judgment somewhere in the coach's first five years of NHL coaching.

Hey, Caps got to the last game in the second round this year. That's something, right? Not really--I'm no happier with this outcome than I was with any of the outcomes for Boudreau's teams. Close games, yes, but with some high-powered offense you have at least a chance of winning by 3 or 4 or 5. If Caps happen to be up by more than 1 in game 5, maybe Ward's unfortunate penalty doesn't matter. I believe a Boudreau-led team, at least with the offensive-mindedness of the 2008-2010 Boudreau, would have done better this year.

So, I agree. McPhee has had some good ideas on draft day and at other times for acquiring players--that is certain--but it's not like all his first-round picks turn out to be gold or anything, and he seems to lack the courage to really follow through with what seem to be some of his ideas for an overall vision. He seems to waver between wanting some real offensive power that might really be able to overpower most teams on most days, like the Caps of two and three years ago, and wanting to fit it into a very conventional-looking mold.

I definitely think it's time to try someone else at GM who is willing to put together a team in an inspired way, and then who is willing to really see what lies at the end of the road he starts out on.

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05-15-2012, 01:13 PM
  #489
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And by "rush to judgment" I'll say that means making a judgment somewhere in the coach's first five years of NHL coaching.
Historically speaking if a coach doesn't win a Cup with a team in his first five years it's not going to happen there.

Agree on McPhee. The problem is there are dumber people above him.

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05-15-2012, 01:20 PM
  #490
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Historically speaking if a coach doesn't win a Cup with a team in his first five years it's not going to happen there.

Agree on McPhee. The problem is there are dumber people above him.
I've always said that the most terrifying thought is Ted being involved in choosing a new GM. I have almost no faith in McPhee to choose a coach properly...I can't even find a way to express how little I would trust Ted to hire a new GM. I don't really know what Patrick's role in it would be (I guess it's hard to say how involved Ted would be anyway) or what I should think of him, but I doubt I should trust him either.

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05-15-2012, 01:26 PM
  #491
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Originally Posted by Maruk moustache View Post
"That's the coach George McPhee fired after he had a bad stretch of 15 games or something (Caps won 5 of his last 15, I think).

I still can't believe this happened. I feel like McPhee and Leonsis were drunk at the time. At the time, and still now, I want(ed) to yell at them: "Give a brother a chance!" Boudreau has not had nearly enough time to prove he's just a bad playoffs coach, at least one that isn't soon going to get better. It's true that describing Boudreau's playoffs performances with the word "bad" is accurate, but it's not true that you can say, with confidence, that there is just some flaw in him that will make him a bad playoffs coach on a permanent basis. It seemed to me like playoffs success might well have been right around the corner.

....So, I agree. McPhee has had some good ideas on draft day and at other times for acquiring players--that is certain--but it's not like all his first-round picks turn out to be gold or anything, and he seems to lack the courage to really follow through with what seem to be some of his ideas for an overall vision. He seems to waver between wanting some real offensive power that might really be able to overpower most teams on most days, like the Caps of two and three years ago, and wanting to fit it into a very conventional-looking mold.

I definitely think it's time to try someone else at GM who is willing to put together a team in an inspired way, and then who is willing to really see what lies at the end of the road he starts out on.
I pretty much agree with every single thing you said here.

I too did not see the logic of jettisoning BB. He had an 8 game losing streak the prior year and we still won the EC. At the time GMGM said there was nothing to worry about.

Then this year he had a 4 or 5 game losing streak and GMGM said he saw big problems which started in the offseason or something.

Perhaps GMGM didn't see the "big problem" because he failed to look in the mirror.

There are a great deal of people who said that the Caps overreacted to the Montreal loss.

Well..the next year they started strong they overreacted to a losing streak. Backstrom and Ovechkin were out of shape that year and Green started his injury streak. Varlamov was in and out of the lineup due to his string of injuries too.

I think you can win with aggressive, physical offensive minded hockey and the Caps have (or had) the personnel to do so. Its a shame they resorted to this junk hockey.

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05-15-2012, 01:28 PM
  #492
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I've always said that the most terrifying thought is Ted being involved in choosing a new GM. I have almost no faith in McPhee to choose a coach properly...I can't even find a way to express how little I would trust Ted to hire a new GM. I don't really know what Patrick's role in it would be (I guess it's hard to say how involved Ted would be anyway) or what I should think of him, but I doubt I should trust him either.
This is indeed a terrible problem. Ugh.

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05-15-2012, 01:30 PM
  #493
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I pretty much agree with every single thing you said here.

I too did not see the logic of jettisoning BB. He had an 8 game losing streak the prior year and we still won the EC. At the time GMGM said there was nothing to worry about.

Then this year he had a 4 or 5 game losing streak and GMGM said he saw big problems which started in the offseason or something.

Perhaps GMGM didn't see the "big problem" because he failed to look in the mirror.

There are a great deal of people who said that the Caps overreacted to the Montreal loss.

Well..the next year they started strong they overreacted to a losing streak. Backstrom and Ovechkin were out of shape that year and Green started his injury streak. Varlamov was in and out of the lineup due to his string of injuries too.

I think you can win with aggressive, physical offensive minded hockey and the Caps have (or had) the personnel to do so. Its a shame they resorted to this junk hockey.
I was in favor of firing Boudreau and GMGM after the Tampa series. I did not want Dale as the replacement when BB was ultimately fired. I have said before and will again - the culture of mediocrity starts at the very top.

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05-15-2012, 01:31 PM
  #494
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This is indeed a terrible problem. Ugh.
I'm not so sure. There are plenty of good hockey people with established track records who could take on the roll.

The name I always mention is Neil Smith. There are plenty of others out there and also there are underlings to long tenured successful GMs who would make a good fit if you don't want to go the established route.

Ted is smart enough to bring a good hockey mind on board.

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I was in favor of firing Boudreau and GMGM after the Tampa series. I did not want Dale as the replacement when BB was ultimately fired. I have said before and will again - the culture of mediocrity starts at the very top.
My take was that IF you are going to fire BB (not a good choice to me) THEN you SHOULD fire GMGM.

Personally I would have preferred GMGM to be fired and let the new GM come in and make a decision on the coach based on his philosophy of team building etc. I don't see why Ted would fire everyone...

Just fire the GM and let the new GM handle it from there. Makes the most sense to me.

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05-15-2012, 01:35 PM
  #495
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I'm not so sure. There are plenty of good hockey people with established track records who could take on the roll.

The name I always mention is Neil Smith. There are plenty of others out there and also there are underlings to long tenured successful GMs who would make a good fit if you don't want to go the established route.

Ted is smart enough to bring a good hockey mind on board.
I'd be delighted to see Smith come in. I believe he would attract top-end coaching talent as well. Ted has not, however, proven that what you say is true. I hope you are right, but his track record so far seems to indicate the contrary, IMHO.

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My take was that IF you are going to fire BB (not a good choice to me) THEN you SHOULD fire GMGM.

Personally I would have preferred GMGM to be fired and let the new GM come in and make a decision on the coach based on his philosophy of team building etc. I don't see why Ted would fire everyone...

Just fire the GM and let the new GM handle it from there. Makes the most sense to me.
We can agree to disagree about BB, but I see your point on the GM. If ownership had fired McPhee last summer, I'd have been fine with leaving the coaching decisions up to the new General Manager.

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05-15-2012, 03:41 PM
  #496
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Anyone else besides me think this was odd, and points to George basically coaching the team?

Quote:
"I think the issue is with the organization, not necessarily with the coach," Gandler said. "They told us Alex is not going to play shorthanded, he's not going to play in the last minute. He's going to get the same ice time as everybody else ...
This implies that Semin liked Dale, to me at least. Yet it was always Dale taking heat from posters over low TOI. Perhaps the same is true with Ovi. I have long thought George has his hands in the coaches plan. Dale was brought in here to be George's heavy. Be the ass hole Ovi needed to be forced to learn D.

Maybe George should have just been coach himself instead.

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05-15-2012, 03:48 PM
  #497
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People just seem to be forgetting a lot of things.

BB coached an exciting offense minded regular season team that was easily shut down in the playoffs. So he tried to focus on improving the team defensively, but that also failed to hold form in the playoffs. He changed his style because he had failed three times with offense minded teams by having them either outscored (Philly, Pitt) or shut down (Montreal). So he switched to a defense focused team, but not playoff style, sacrifice your body, style, and Tampa exposed them for what they were - a team that didn't believe in itself.

Then he wasn't just fired for having a losing streak. He was fired for losing the team. They stopped listening to him, stopped responding and stopped trying. The team had lost faith in the system and lost faith in BB. He had to go for that reason alone.

What this organization needs is for Ted to set a real philosophy and stick with it. He needs to hire a GM who believes in his heart in that same philosophy, who builds a roster suited to play that style, and hires a coach who preaches that philosophy and style of play. That is quite simply the only recipe for long term real success - i.e. winning multiple Cups like NJ, Colorado and Detroit franchises have done. The blueprint for being Nashville or Philly or the Caps of the 80s/90s is easy. The blueprint for winning multiple Cups does not include the Caps attempts to be all offense or all defense.

The blueprint for winning multiple Cups is simple: Goaltending, tough defense and the timely goal from either the turnover or power play. Kinda like in baseball - Pitching, defense and the 3 run home run. Until we stop shifting in philosophies the wind, our results will continue to be random.

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05-15-2012, 04:03 PM
  #498
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Anyone else besides me think this was odd, and points to George basically coaching the team?



This implies that Semin liked Dale, to me at least. Yet it was always Dale taking heat from posters over low TOI. Perhaps the same is true with Ovi. I have long thought George has his hands in the coaches plan. Dale was brought in here to be George's heavy. Be the ass hole Ovi needed to be forced to learn D.

Maybe George should have just been coach himself instead.
Jesus, what a mess McPhee has made.

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05-15-2012, 04:20 PM
  #499
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I can agree that if BB stuck to his guns, perhaps the Caps would have eventually gotten better results (with better personnel on D, like now).. but the way it transpired, he tried to change it, it didn't work, and getting swept by Tampa should've been the nail in the coffin, it looked completely hopeless at that point.

Also agree that most of the problems stem from McPhee not having a team identity in mind. He's built a team version of Brooks Laich -- "decent" at many things, unremarkable in anything. Speed -- mediocre. Physicality -- mediocre. Puck possession -- mediocre. Firepower -- nowadays mediocre again. With Hunter the ticket became stay disciplined and limit quality offensive chances against.. and it worked for a while -- until the other team got more bounces.
But overall there's nothing to overwhelm an opponent with, nothing outstanding about this Caps team.

The other thing is, the team's stars are paid like offensively dominant players. Ovechkin, Semin, Green. Laich, he's just overpaid, lol. These players have not shown that they can sufficiently improve in other aspects of the game to compensate for lack of offensive production in a more defensive system. So far it looks like either the Caps have to run a system that caters to their strength.. or, it doesn't make sense to keep them. It seems that McPhee has been banking on these players to evolve into more complete players on their own, and it hasn't happened.

Choose, McPhee:
1. Admit that you made a mistake trying to go defensive and get a coach to open the floodgates again.
2. Admit that your stars are not complete players, man up and trade some of them if you really want the team to have a defensive identity.

Finally, IMO the sad truth is that in order for his team (Caps or any other) to win, Ovi needs to evolve NOW. Can't win in NHL playoffs without the ability to consistently put pressure on the cycle, and without closing down space on the defensive end. Transition chances don't exist in playoffs, and his snipes aren't worth 9.5m. Can't wait for 4 guys to retrieve and feed you the puck, Ovi, just can't, not in playoffs.


Last edited by artilector: 05-15-2012 at 04:27 PM.
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05-15-2012, 04:50 PM
  #500
RandyHolt
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I don't follow other teams in my old age, but I am going to assume its very rare for a coach to be hired mid season, win a playoff series, and then walk away from the team as soon as the season ended. It just seems odd.

I think Ted has bought into what I consider George's philosophy that we try to compete every year, and one year we are then likely to win a cup. Build through the draft, and stay the course. While its good for his job security, simply competing every year may not allow a consistent identity on the ice. No big names shipped out, none brought in. So matter the coach or style, our core is set. Flaws largely ignored.

It almost seems the way George is rolling, a coach has to tailor his system around the players, and not square peg round hole pound away. That would certainly explain Bruce's overnight success.... um go play be aggressive do what you think is best, I will watch. That's all he did.


Last edited by RandyHolt: 05-15-2012 at 04:56 PM.
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