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Ovechkin's struggles just one part of Capitals' frustration

May 2, 2010, 5:45 PM EST

Ovechkinski.jpgElliotte Friedman of CBCSports and Hockey Night in Canada
has a great article up today
on the Washington Capitals. He looks
ahead at what needs to change for the Washington Capitals as they take
the throne from the San Jose Sharks as playoff disappointments, and it’s
tough to argue with his suggestions.

He makes a great point that
while some were instantly calling for a coaching change, it’s smart of
GM George McPhee to state publicly that he stands behind Bruce Boudreau.
That’s not to say changes aren’t coming, but firing the coach in the
days after a painful playoff loss just reeks of desperation.

There’s
no doubt that the Capitals were outcoached at times by the Canadiens,
especially as it became obvious that the Capitals had trouble adjusting
to the system the Habs were rolling with. But what about the other parts
of the team that frustrated fans the most? So what did Elliotte have to
say?

On Alex Ovechkin, he says that the superstar needs to take a
page from the book of Sidney Crosby and adjust his approach to the game
as the league catches up to him. He has some damning quotes by Canadiens
players, as they say that Ovechkin became increasingly easy to defend:

“Generally,
you know what’s coming,” Gorges said. “When he comes in on
the off-wing, he’ll try to step to the middle and shoot through you. You
can bait him into that.”

“If you do go to the middle, he will
try to go to the outside,” Gill added.

Sidney Crosby
took the next step by learning to score more himself. As some coaches
observed the Ovechkin was crippling the Capitals power play by keeping
the puck too much, perhaps #8 can take the next step himself by learning
to be more of a playmaker than a finisher. He has some incredibly
talented teammates at his disposal, and as Ovechkin became increasingly
frustrated he became intent on trying to win himself.

Friedman
goes on to say that Mike Green needs to drown out his detractors and
just go back to playing the hockey that made him so good to start with.
Forget about the Norris Trophy debates, just be yourself. He also covers
how the Capitals are perhaps too much of a finesse team, a style that’s
not exactly conducive to postseason success and attacks the notion that
perhaps the approach that works for the Caps in the regular season
won’t work in the playoffs.

After all, it’s tough to argue with
R.J. Umberger after that first round disappointment.

Finally,
Friedman takes on a very interesting aspect of this ‘mess’ that we’ve
hinted at as it became apparent that the Capitals were starting to
struggle: Alex Ovechkin didn’t look like he was having fun anymore.

I
call it the Tony Romo syndrome. Someone who was known for his exuberant
style and his love for the game allows criticism and doubts about his
ability to carry his team in the playoffs affect his love of the game.
Ovechkin was frustrated, far from his joyous self and according to
Friedman there’s talk he’s let all the public criticisms get to him.

The
Capitals are still an incredibly talented team and have a formula that
could be successful if tweaked in the right places. More importantly,
they need Alex Ovechkin to get back to being as good as we all know he
can be.

  1. shtick boy - May 3, 2010 at 2:01 AM

    This article is another great example of the lame coverage nbc does with hockey. No respect for the game or they really dont care.
    Why even bother having the nhl playoffs on nbc? Instead of piggybacking on the journalism of HNIC E. Friedman why doesnt NBC have fellow HNIC man Mike Milbury plug away and have someone transcribe his vast two cents to pages? Or how about TSN’s Pierre McGuire? He’s more than happy to share with the world his opinion (he loves the sound of his own voice) on Ove’s play in the first round against the habs. I guess nbc doesnt want to have to pay them for their opinion online.
    C’mon nbc show some originality and it wouldnt hurt your pocketbook too much to spend a couple of bucks on having a better set for McGuire & Milbury to cover the in between periods. Looks like a cardboard closet cutout in a treehouse…
    Amateur cable tv coverage from northern yukon looks more professional than nbc. slick graphics and theme music can only do so much, in this case not nearly enough. only bright spot is having doc & eddy do the game.
    lazy, lame and cheap… that’s nbc’s motto for online and network coverage of the nhl.

  2. alsco13 - May 3, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    Good commentary on NBC…however, would have been even better if you commented on the article wriiten…original or not.

  3. PolegoJim - May 3, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Nice deflection… the coverage doesn’t change the headline.
    Choke, Choke, Choke.
    What the Senators are to Canada, the Capitals are to the US. Regular season flash, playoff implosion. Both are weak minded groups from top to bottom, with little to no ability to adjust with any real impact. Head coaches who hide there eyes and players who bury their heads in the ice.
    Both wastes of playoff spots. Disagree? I’d welcome either of them prove me wrong. At least prepubescent Sidney Crosby shows up for the playoffs.

  4. Big_Sexy - May 3, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Boudreau should be fired. He should be stepping in talking and utilizing the Ovechkins, Semins, Greens on the team to play their game. Boudreau is costing this great Washington team further success as he lets the patients run the asylum. He has been outcoached and has no answer but to put all the pressure on the players. Boudreau should be coaching systems to counter act what the other team is doing instead of letting his players try to figure it out themselves. He has been severly outcoach what 3 years now in the playoffs, it was the teams talent that gets them where they are but it is Boudreaus lack of strategy that makes them loose out. Boudreau is hidding behind the Caps outstanding skill, Washinton needs a new coach that will utilize their talents reel them in and use correct systems and strategies to win.

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