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Coach Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Stiff

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Old
06-02-2011, 08:17 PM
  #51
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i dont get it. the other teams must have been pretty crappy if his agent let him sign with the capitals. i assume the word has to be out of the caps, their coach, their gm and ownership.

he's a swede. if he were any good he would have signed in detroit
Maybe we're all wrong and BB is actually a great coach who has been really unlucky the last 4 years? LOL! Oh my sides!

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06-02-2011, 09:15 PM
  #52
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Coach may turn be able to turn a Grade A bone-in ribeye into tubesteak, but man can he sure make mediocre talent want to sign!

4 MORE YEARS! 4 MORE YEARS!
Out of curiosity, what do you call the job he did in 08? It's amazing how people use the regular season success as a measure of their talent and discount the coaching job done to make it look that way, and then turn around and say he's a terrible playoff coach because of how great they looked in the regular season.

You can't evaluate the talent objectively as a whole. It's all viewed in the prism of one set of results or another, all of which have been filtered, for good or bad, by the coach.

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06-02-2011, 11:30 PM
  #53
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06-02-2011, 11:54 PM
  #54
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It was pretty damn good. Not rocket science. A lot was the system and actually setting some expectations, moving backstrom to c, and letting green go. He was exactly what they needed for a short term bump. Hanlon was atrocious for that talent level and was very easily called for to be bumped... Despite opinions here, ovi "saying" I believe in my coach, and gmgm hesitant until the team hit rock bottom and forced gmgm to act.

I think a lot of BB's means then, started trends and set the framework for his tenure that he cant escape. And he didn't recognize or couldn't adjust his message and priorities by season two, as a Adams winner, to mold these kids into winners. He just rode what catapulted him from a minor league coach in awe of ovi to NHL darling. And gmgm is caught in those golden handcuffs as well. He can't just seem to fire a guy who possibly saved his as well.

Each opportunity we pass to dump this guy just kicks the can down the road and delays the lessons, cohesion, and priorities that a proper coach will hopefully establish. NHL coaches change all the time. It's the job.

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06-03-2011, 12:27 AM
  #55
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I just dont get by what standard you can make statements about what the talent level of the team is. Are they grade A steak with an average nhl coach? Or the best one in the league?

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06-03-2011, 08:57 AM
  #56
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The biggest thing Bruce did to turn our season around, was to not be Glen Hanlon. A different voice. He didnt install some complex system that required weeks or months to implement. He had success starting in his frst game. Proof positive that a simple coaching change can have a profound effect on a team. A different perspective. Sure, Hanlon was a fool which made Bruce or anyone else that replaced him, look like an even greater genius.

It was probably just... go f'in have fun boys. Offensive guys be offensive. Our centers, hmm lets see, I will have them play center. Attack, do what you think is right. You all know how to play hockey by now.

Yes it was that simple.

I still cant believe Hanlon didnt try our best center at center before getting canned. Nor would he let either of our 2 best centers, center Ovi. Amazing he lasted as long as he did, I guess its the GM way. Coaches get a long leash.

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06-03-2011, 10:30 AM
  #57
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Agreed a lot Randy but he did bring a message that continued through the season as they started winning... "Great, we're mediocre now" when they hit .500. It was a change in tone from the "it's okay to suck".

Also the "Tora Tora Tora" system was a 180 from the "omg let's try not to suck" system of Hanlon. He unleashed the fury, the kids ****** up. But they also were allowed to play naturally. He uncoiled a huge spring.

Backstrom was always going to get better as the season progressed. So that alone is a structural benefit that BB had over Hanlon. But it doesn't take away from BB's overall positive impact at the time. IMHO he fully deserved that Adams.

I just think its best for BB and the Caps to split. BB can learn from his mistakes, hopefully have a different culture installed from the beginning. The Caps players can get a different "alignment" on playoff winning and attention to detail.

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06-03-2011, 10:48 AM
  #58
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Every coaches tenure with a team is finite. Knowing when a coach has gotten all he can out of a team, is just another evaluation a GM has to make a human being. Its certainly not easy to have to grade so many players and coaches and prospects. But a GM cant fumble the coach. When its time for change, its usually easy to see. I think ours was the 8 or 9 game losing streak. Coupled with the Montreal series loss, it just seemed time was ripe. It was funny to see bruce apologizing for wins during his desperation switch to defensive hockey. Sorry, i know its boring folks. If he had done that on his own accord, to start the year perhaps, it would have held more merit perhaps. He did it because his way wasnt working.

So he changed what he was and what he did, and that was a huge red flag that what he wanted to do, wasnt working anymore. George gave him a vote of confidence. At that point, it was apparent that Bruce could do no wrong.

I think in general the players are burned out on Bruce. Does anyone look in the mirror and blame themselves? No. Players blame the coach, the coach blames the players; all behind closed doors. I think its in their heads, our coach cant get it done. None of the players think they suck.

Since they are all George's guys, he blames bad luck.

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06-03-2011, 11:20 AM
  #59
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Asking again, by what standard is this teams talent Grade A steak? Talent wise, compare us to Vancouver and there is no comparison. We get blown out on depth, d and in net. And they almost choked a 3-0 lead away against an 8.

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06-03-2011, 12:02 PM
  #60
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Originally Posted by mrwarden View Post
Asking again, by what standard is this teams talent Grade A steak? Talent wise, compare us to Vancouver and there is no comparison. We get blown out on depth, d and in net. And they almost choked a 3-0 lead away against an 8.
Sorry. I responded via phone. Just realized it didn't pop up.

I said Grade A Ribeye... not Filet!

This team made it to the final 8... and they got smashed. They are not the 8th best team talent wise. They had holes, mostly from experience in the key spots. Frankly though these key players did very well... sans one horrid game from the KA/JC pairing. Had their structural weaknesses hit them I'm not sure many would complain. Some would. But they lost from stupidity of line changes and teamwork.

From top end talent there's not a team that holds a candle IMHO. From what the PP should look no other team should compare. From what they pulled together on the PK this team should have been in the finals now.... sans consistent bad breaks, major talent injuries, and definitely not a loss via sweep.

Bruce's influence on this team is not just about his actions/inactions/etc during the playoffs... but his entire tenure that creates an environment and the sumation of multiple missed opportunities to mold the core that resulted in the abomination we witnessed in early May.


Wrt Vancouver... but they didn't. And it was the SC champs from prior year. A team with talent and successful playoff experience. I think our roster compared favorably with that team. Our top two lines should be comparable... our 3rd is a joke. Our D depth is a notch below... but only experienced based and Wides injury.

But why compare to Vancouver. Its Boston and Tampa that are the comparables. And to me we should be a good furlong on those two.

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06-03-2011, 12:42 PM
  #61
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Originally Posted by HSHS View Post
Sorry. I responded via phone. Just realized it didn't pop up.

I said Grade A Ribeye... not Filet!

This team made it to the final 8... and they got smashed. They are not the 8th best team talent wise. They had holes, mostly from experience in the key spots. Frankly though these key players did very well... sans one horrid game from the KA/JC pairing. Had their structural weaknesses hit them I'm not sure many would complain. Some would. But they lost from stupidity of line changes and teamwork.

From top end talent there's not a team that holds a candle IMHO. From what the PP should look no other team should compare. From what they pulled together on the PK this team should have been in the finals now.... sans consistent bad breaks, major talent injuries, and definitely not a loss via sweep.

Bruce's influence on this team is not just about his actions/inactions/etc during the playoffs... but his entire tenure that creates an environment and the sumation of multiple missed opportunities to mold the core that resulted in the abomination we witnessed in early May.


Wrt Vancouver... but they didn't. And it was the SC champs from prior year. A team with talent and successful playoff experience. I think our roster compared favorably with that team. Our top two lines should be comparable... our 3rd is a joke. Our D depth is a notch below... but only experienced based and Wides injury.

But why compare to Vancouver. Its Boston and Tampa that are the comparables. And to me we should be a good furlong on those two.
You think their getting a goal, after giving up a PP, in OT in game 7 at home was by design? It wasn't by coaching that they escaped. My point isn't to hold Bruce to the lowest standard, my point is that this team looks like a powerhouse because he coaches them and at least partially as a result of that, they look that way. It's the same style that (apparently) fails in the playoffs. But if you were to even attempt to evaluate the team on talent alone, we have four great but inconsistent players and beyond that some poor to average inconsistent players. You might put the inconsistency on the coaching, but unless they leave here and become Datsyuk (in terms of consistency), there's no evidence for it. So far the players have left have actually been less successful elsewhere with the exception of Flash, who nobody liked better than Bruce did.


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06-03-2011, 12:54 PM
  #62
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Belanger looked a lot better in Minnesota and Phoenix than in Washington. Ditto Corvo in Carolina. Aside from those two and Fleischmann, it's not like much talent has gone elsewhere. Morrisonn? Eminger? Jurcina? Laich moving on would be the most interesting case study yet.

You can fault McPhee for a lot of things--like not doing enough on the blueline or at center until recently or putting together mediocre depth up front--but this team's power play has become a joke and that's something that should be way more of a helpful difference maker than it has been.

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06-03-2011, 01:05 PM
  #63
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You really think I meant that Vancouver thing was by design? And if they did lose, yes choke city. But they didn't due to a confluence of events. They made it past that hurdle, a tough one in Chi, and haven't looked back. Part of the second guessing could have been around benching Luongo in game 6... but it didn't come to it.

Not at all comparable to Montreal or Tampa sweep.

Its hard to say what the core players would look like if they were dispersed. That's who I care about... F the depth rentals. BB didn't train them nor do we depend on them. But they all come in, say wtf???, and attempt in their own ways to adjust the cluster ****. But back to the core. Their individual skill is undeniable. We see it nightly. But thinking that they have had some "adder" to their career development by BB seems far fetched to me. Green yes. It seems very obvious that there are strong gaps in hockey sense, risk assessing, and teamwork. They all can't be ******** morons.

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06-03-2011, 01:07 PM
  #64
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Quite frankly IMHO if BB was a NHL11 coach card, he'd have -10 teamwork and -5 hockey sense.

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06-03-2011, 01:09 PM
  #65
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Belanger looked a lot better in Minnesota and Phoenix than in Washington. Ditto Corvo in Carolina. Aside from those two and Fleischmann, it's not like much talent has gone elsewhere. Morrisonn? Eminger? Jurcina? Laich moving on would be the most interesting case study yet.

You can fault McPhee for a lot of things--like not doing enough on the blueline or at center until recently or putting together mediocre depth up front--but this team's power play has become a joke and that's something that should be way more of a helpful difference maker than it has been.
Add Clark, Steckel, (Brash or Pothier) or a number of guys who basically got bounced out of the league after leaving the Caps.

You can also look at it another way. The number of players who looked much, much better here. Fedorov, Arnott, Wideman.

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06-03-2011, 01:21 PM
  #66
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Add Clark, Steckel, (Brash or Pothier) or a number of guys who basically got bounced out of the league after leaving the Caps.

You can also look at it another way. The number of players who looked much, much better here. Fedorov, Arnott, Wideman.
The former can be an indictment of GMGM... or praise of him for dumping trash.

The latter: Agreed that Feds was rejuvinated. Arnott... who knows. Hard to judge given how bad NJ was. But both players got the post-trade dump. Both were trained elsewhere. Both learned to think the game elsewhere. Both were top end leaders in a fading career.

Wideman was a stud in Boston during Chara's Norris. I look at his time in south Fla as the anomoly. But he was definitely playing back to the level he could. And the environment was a big part of it. But the portion that was BB? Not a lot IMHO. It was about the team, not the coach IMHO.

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06-03-2011, 01:29 PM
  #67
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The guys moving elsewhere weren't core players on this team. They were mostly here for a season or less. Sample size is small and they really never had enough time to settle down here or their new teams since it's so recent which makes it a bit unfair to draw any conclusions.

I think the main knocks on Bruce that are warranted even taking into consideration his regular season success are as follows:

1) Failure to adjust in the playoffs: I think individual talent plays more of a role during the regular season as you're seeing many teams in short spans of times not allowing for a full on analysis of the other team and how your team should play them. When you get to the playoffs not only do you see the same team multiple times in a row but because of this you have time to analyze their team, adjust as necessary, see if that works, and then make further adjustments. Every playoff years seems to have a new failure to adjust storyline with the last two years being the most egregious. Failure to adjust to Montreal's trap and PK scheme - failure to defeat the 1-3-1 against Tampa in a sweep. Putrid PPs. If a team keeps falling into the same trap/scheme over, and over, and over again without making adjustments it's on the coaching staff. There's plenty of time to adjust and Bruce and his team didn't. It's not like MTL or TB were inherently better teams than us. They played schemes that were geared to defeat us and we could not adjust. Period.

2) Conditioning/Focus: Game 7 against PITT, Last three games against MTL, TB series. We were outclassed by all three of these teams in this regard. We have elite athletes on our team but we seem to always be on our heels. Not only does this contribute to the other team getting more chances and us getting less - it also contributes to bad decision making. Our players seem to take bone-headed penalties each playoffs to a higher degree than the other teams (except for maybe NYR, thanks Avery). When you're tired, you make mistakes, and this team makes a lot of them. All of the frequent optional practices and days off during the regular season might contribute to success at the time but it doesn't gear us up to be in prime shape for the post season. You can point to injuries as an issue in some years but perhaps because these guys aren't in good enough shape to begin with they're putting their bodies in vulnerable situations against well-conditioned competition.

3) Power Play: 1 for 33 and this year. Any outsider can watch our PP and realize something's wrong with it. It's not like we have Boston's offense or we're up against Pronger every PP. We're failing at the powerplay in the early rounds of the playoffs where PP goals are easier to come by than later.

You can point to the players and say that it's their fault for not executing but I see a lack of a comprehensive system and a lack of accountability. I can see the argument that Bruce is a good coach but I'd retort that he's not the right fit for this team anymore. He was in 08 and 09, but not only have things gotten stale around here, the mold is starting to set in.

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06-03-2011, 01:30 PM
  #68
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All I know is Steckel was going to be the proof that BB couldn't coach and Lemaire was going to make him a stud 3rd liner and Lou had been targeting him forever and he got a whole point in his games with NJD.

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06-03-2011, 02:04 PM
  #69
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All I know is Steckel was going to be the proof that BB couldn't coach and Lemaire was going to make him a stud 3rd liner and Lou had been targeting him forever and he got a whole point in his games with NJD.
Uh, almost all of us were happy to get rid of Steckel.

We raised our eyebrows a bit when Lemaire said Steckel wasn't in prime condition but I think none of the more rational fans thought Steckel was going to turn into a great third liner. You're reading between the lines a little too much on that one.

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06-03-2011, 02:08 PM
  #70
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Uh, almost all of us were happy to get rid of Steckel.

We raised our eyebrows a bit when Lemaire said Steckel wasn't in prime condition but I think none of the more rational fans thought Steckel was going to turn into a great third liner. You're reading between the lines a little too much on that one.
Not Caps fans. The NJD fans.

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06-03-2011, 02:16 PM
  #71
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All i know is a cup winning forward named Jason Arnott couldn't believe the things we were doing. One I remember, what players do away from the puck. I am sure there were more.

Who knows what it takes to win a Stanely cup, a longtime NHL stud and cup winner like Arnott, or a career minor leaguer? Sure Bruce won everywhere before here. Did he coach any stacked teams along the way? Like in Hershey lets say? I bet some think the caps have been quite stacked during his tenure, maybe even from day 1.

What does treadmill Steckel have to do with anything, other than to prove Bruce runs a country club type of team, being out of shape doesnt matter. That golf cart Green almost lost his head in, I bet they all have one.

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06-03-2011, 02:20 PM
  #72
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All i know is a cup winning forward named Jason Arnott couldn't believe the things we were doing. One I remember, what players do away from the puck. I am sure there were more.

Who knows what it takes to win a Stanely cup, a longtime NHL stud and cup winner like Arnott, or a career minor leaguer? Sure Bruce won everywhere before here. Did he coach any stacked teams along the way? Like in Hershey lets say? I bet some think the caps are quite stacked themselves, from his day 1.

What does treadmill Steckel have to do with anything, other than to prove Bruce runs a country club type of team, being out of shape doesnt matter. That golf cart Green almost lost his head in, I bet they all have one.
Yeah, he said he couldn't believe the stuff they were getting away with. The same stuff that rejuvenated his career. Maybe he said that stuff because he knows thats the rep Bruce has, NJD has reputation for doing things "right" and he wanted to feel important? Who knows? All that's clear is that the team that was doing stuff "right" wanted nothing to do with him, and when he came here he started playing a lot better.

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06-03-2011, 02:29 PM
  #73
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Why in the world would arnott want to come here, to spread lies. He wanted to feel important? Dont you think George would have intervened if it was total bunk? As it was, George targeted him to come here on the condition he try to help fix the **** system even George saw as flawed, to be vocal, to lead, to help sort our pond hockey offense.

Maybe he needed a change of scenary from NJ, the place he did all those "right" things that enamored George with him in the first place. A change of scenary works with coaches, too.

Is that you, Flash?

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06-03-2011, 02:33 PM
  #74
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Why in the world would arnott want to come here, to spread lies. He wanted to feel important? Dont you think George would have intervened if it was total bunk? As it was, George targeted him to come here on the condition he try to help fix the **** system even George saw as flawed, to be vocal, to lead, to help sort our pond hockey offense.

Maybe he needed a change of scenary from NJ, the place he did all those "right" things that enamored George with him in the first place.

Is that you, Flash?
Why would you need a change of scenery from a team playing the right way to a team playing the wrong way?

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06-03-2011, 02:43 PM
  #75
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Why would you need a change of scenery from a team playing the right way to a team playing the wrong way?
Same reason I argue Bruce should go. Fit. It's all about fit.

Arnott clearly felt more empowered on a Capitals team lacking leadership so it was natural for him to step up. His leadership position on the Devils was less of a role than it is on the Capitals.

Empowerment is a powerful tool and many people respond to that. Clearly, Arnott responded to it.

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