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Maybe Boudreau Should Sit Down Ovechkin or Semin!

By Rodger M. Wood

Although the Caps are 1-4-1 in the past six games, not all is bleak with the Capitals nowadays.

They started the season off with 7 straight wins, have won 10 games of 17 for the season, and are tied with the lowly Florida Panthers for the Southeast Division lead with 21 points.

Forwards Mike Knuble, Troy Brouwer, Matt Hendricks, Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera, Joel Ward, defenseman John Erskine plus goalie Tomas Vokoun are playing hockey and earning their keep.

But at the game last night,  I could hear the lowly 6-9-3 W-L –OL Winnipeg fans sarcastically jeering Ovie and Coach Boudreau after the home team Jets took a 4-1 lead at 10:54 of the second period.

Indeed, the Caps looked like a joke. Coach Boudreau wasn’ t getting 100% effort from his stars, they weren’t  forechecking, chasing down the puck, or crashing the net, were taking more foolish penalties, and getting weak goaltending, while Jets  goalie Ondrej Pavalec did acobats, stopped shot after shot at the other end of the ice and Jets second year pro Evander Kane, scoring two goals, almost had a hat trick.

Awhile back In the Pittsburgh game, which the Caps won 3-2 in OT, it was embarrassing when Penguins tough guy Arron Asham, former Capitals forward Dale Hunter’s lookalike, mocked the Capitals manliness after he decked Caps forward Jay Beagle, effectively putting him out of the lineup with a concussion the last nine games, and in return, was not pummeled by a single Caps teammate’s blows.

Except for fluky wins against the Red Wings away and the Ducks at home, the Caps have also been embarrassed in successive losses to the Oilers, Canucks, Predators, Stars,  and the other physically tough Western Conference foes they have faced this season.

If the stars are not scoring goals, and shying away from the toughness of the game, what would be the loss in keeping one of them off the ice watching the game from the stands?

After the Jets loss, the Caps were tied with the rejuvenated Florida Panthers for the Southeast Division lead and 6th place in the Eastern Conference playoff race, only a point ahead of defending Stanley Cup  champion Boston Bruins and division rival Tampa Bay Lightning. If they don’t start winning again soon, the Caps will fall out of the 8-team conference Stanley Cup playoff contention.

Resting Ovechkin and Semin during game critical situations, Boudreau is desperately trying to awaken his fading star power. So far unsuccessful, maybe instead, he needs to sit one of his super stars down in the stands for a game or two, while other Capitals restore Capitals’ self – respect.

The Caps Need Heart To Win The Stanley Cup

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By Rodger M. Wood

Like the Marines, our theme for the Caps’ 2011-2012 season will be “acta non verba,” or “actions not words.” We’re tired of getting all fired up at the beginning of a season, only to be let down with the team’s early departure from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

After the Capitals hockey season started the season off with an overtime 4-3 win over Carolina Saturday night, Caps fans are hearing the same old song and song, “The Caps will win the Stanley Cup this season.”

The sage editors of the Hockey News are singing the same song predicting, “This will be the season the Capitals bring home the Stanley Cup.” However, without showing the heart, or mental and physical toughness the Boston Bruins did last spring while winning the prized trophy, I think we’ll be in for another long hot summer, our 36th in a row, since the Caps came into being the 1974/1975 season.

We can only hope Caps VP and GM George McPhee watched how the Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens up in seven games last spring, the Philadelphia Flyers in four, Tampa Bay Lightning in seven, and the Vancouver Canucks in seven.

Goalie Tim Thomas, forwards Patrice Bergeron, Nathan Horton, David Krejic, Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton, defensemen Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, and Johnny Boychuk and the rest of the Bruins were talented, but more importantly, demonstrated they had the courage, grit, durability, mental and physical toughness to beat tough opponents.

Our Caps were more talented than the Bruins, and displayed star power during the regular season, but core stars, captain Alex Ovechkin, Nicklaus Backstrom, Alexander Semin, and Mike Green failed to show the internal fortitude necessary to win in the playoffs.
You can’t measure the heart of a hockey player or team until they are in the thick of the playoffs. During the summer, McPhee acquired some free agents, Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik, Jeff Halpern, and Tomas Vokoun , who look good on paper and may perform well in the regular season, but without Ovie and the core stars setting the example in the playoffs, our Cup efforts will still be futile.

Novice Caps fans, I hate to dampen your enthusiasm, but we’ve heard the same old story many times before, and won’t believe it until our Cap stars bring us home the Stanley Cup.
Winning the Stanley Cup will speak louder than any words used to drum up season ticket sales or fill up the Verizon Center stands.

Did The Caps Let Their Guard Down Too!

By Rodger M. Wood

It’ll be another long summer, my family’s 36th straight, without a Stanley Cup winner. Will the Caps ever fulfill our impossible dream? Can we last another year to see what their fortune will be in 2012?Yes! Our poor Capitals let us down again, but not without trying. Four fluky goals, a few bad calls, defensive amnesia and our fate was sealed in Tampa, 5-2. The Lightning foe stuck four straight times to sweep the 2011 Stanley Cup semifinal playoffs four games to none.You can blame the loss on Coach Boudreau for being outfoxed by first year Tampa coach Brian Boucher, or on Caps stars, Alex Ovechkin, Niklaus Backstrom, Alexander Semin, or Mike Green’s lack of mental and physical toughness or for reverting back to “run and gun” hockey again, or to the immaturity of John Carlson and Karl Alzner, or veterans Scott Hannan or Jeff Schutz’ play on the blue line, but the bottom line is Tampa worked harder and wanted to win more than the Caps.There will probably be a scapegoat for the Caps loss this summer, but I remember a boxing match I lost in my youth, which taught me a big lesson in life. My younger opponent asked me that night when we were getting our hands taped before the fight not to hurt him too badly. Shortly afterwards, I walked down the aisle to the ring, cocky confident, waving and performing for my brothers, dad, friends, and a few attractive women in the stands. I had no doubts I was going to win the match, maybe even by a knockout. But after my opponent and I got our instructions and the command “to come out fighting” from the referee, I didn’t put my guard up right away. My “frightened” opponent sucker punched and broke my nose in the first seconds of the match. I held onto him until my head cleared, fought as hard as I could the next four rounds, but still got my butt kicked royally.Did my history repeat itself for the Caps? Did they let their guard down, get sucker punched, and have their royal butts kicked just like I did many years ago!

May 5, 2011 - 11:34 pm

pete - First of all, Tampa’s coach is “Guy” Boucher, Brian Boucher is an average goalie who plays for Philadelphia. Second, I did not see 4 fluky goals when I went to the game. Maybe the first that went off Malone’s thigh. Maybe. 2 rebound goals, 1 canon from the point, and a nasty St. Louis wrister. The Caps didn’t get sucker punched, they were out coached, and out worked by Tampa’s third line, and had fantastic goaltending. I’m thinking you didn’t even watch the game, might want to check some names, and watch a few of those goals again before you write an article like this.

May 11, 2011 - 7:29 am

Rodger - Can I comment as following:Sorry about getting your coach’s name wrong….In “Did the Capitals Let Their Guard Down Too” I was writing about the series, not just the 4th game, when I said there were four fluky goals scored by the Lighning in critical situations, Downie’s goal in the second period of the first game was off Caps defenseman Scott Hannan’s stick, Lecavalier’s goal in the third period of the third game was off Mike Green’s stick, Lecavalier’s overtime goal was off a lucky board pass, and Malone’s goal in the 1st period in the 4th game was deflected off his skates.If you had read further into the article and maybe earlier articles about the series with a more open mind, you would have seen where I gave Tampa’s coach, and players much credit for outplaying and outworking the Capitals.Thank you for your interest,Rodger M. Wood

Lightning Strikes the Caps Again… Caps Fall to Lighting

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And so it goes… the Caps have been swept in four by the Lightning. Hand it to the Lightning, they came to play. They outperformed the Caps in every aspect of the game including coaching.

Not much else to say. It will be interesting to see what changes occur, if any, this summer. Ted Leonsis seems dead set to stick with the plan, so fans calling for the coaches head or for a “reconstruction” may not get their wish. Should changes be made? I hate to say it, but this team is underachieving in a grand way. This season should have seen no less than a trip to the conference finals.

Regardless, after more than 35 years of cheering for the Caps, we will still look forward to a new season of hope and possibilities. Thanks for visiting the CapitalPowerPlay this season.

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