By Rodger M. WoodEveryone is jumping on the bandwagon with their proposals for ending the Caps bad play of the past two weeks.They’re on a six game losing streak, looking a lot like the 1974 Caps team that won 8 games the entire 1974-75 season.They’re playing so bad, their last loss was a 7-0 wipe out by the dismal New York Rangers at Madison Square Gardens, where the NY fans actually cheered for their own team again.Our Alex the Great and other Caps snipers have been blanked 4 times in the last 10 games.You can comfortably blame our woes on the flu and injuries and anything else, but I was told a long time ago by a wise man,“ it’s not the size of the dog in a fight, but the size of the bite in the dog that counts.” And right now, Capitals, I don’t think the bite is very big.I can remember seeing Dale Hunter sitting outside the Capitals dressing room on a bench all by himself, steam coming out of his eyes and ears, getting ready for a game and coming out on the ice with fire in his eyes. You didn’t dare to get near him before or during a game if you were in the enemy’s jersey.I can remember Ivan Labre getting his butt kicked every night because he was proud of a team that lost most every night.We’re well past that point in Caps history and I love the Caps more than anyone knows, but, unlike a father making excuses, pampering and spoiling his child, I have to call it as I see it. They’ve enjoyed lots of success in regular seasons with the way they played, but now it’s time to peak in the playoffs rather than the regular season. To do that they need to make some changes now.The Caps are being out-coached. Opposing teams are stacking the deck with four players playing back in the offensive zone, they’re blocking shots, and making their goaltenders look like superstars on mostly harmless perimeter shots. Boudreau has to come up with the strategy, motivation and the players to beat this defense.Forwards Ovechkin, Backstrom, Laich, Knuble, and Semin are not scoring and have lost the fire in their game. Alex O. fought Dubinsky the other night, but he’d better expend that energy on hard checks and leave the fighting to D.J. and others. Boudreau should bench these players if they continue underperforming or McPhee should send them on their way to Hershey or trade them to another team.We have our stay at home defenseman in Scott Hannan and when he learns the system, he should be exactly what the Caps need on the blue line, but when is Mike Green going to take his tough pills, and check someone without getting shoulder injuries every time somebody blinks at him.Rookie Defensemen John Carlson is going to be a great one someday but I’m getting tired of seeing him faked out his jock on 1 on 1s. Maybe, he should be put out there with Jeff Schultz or another veteran defensemen, who can help protect him from this embarrassment.I think we need also need a veteran goaltender; one who stays healthy and can stand on his head in the playoffs. Varlamov and Neuvirth are good young goaltenders, but I don’t want to see them destroyed in the playoffs again.Our guys will come out of their funk, and make the playoffs but they will not go anywhere until they regain the fire in their eyes, make some changes, and get more bite in their play than the opponents. Then they’ll win the Cup.
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